China is attempting to woo Equatorial Guinea into allowing them to build a military base off their coast, according to a report – a move which would give Beijing a foothold in the Atlantic, and deeply worry Washington, Daily Mail reported.
US intelligence officials believe that China’s President Xi Jinping is hoping to convince the president of the West African nation, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to allow expansion of an existing port in the city of Bata, and conversion into a military base, the report said.
Were China to convert the Bata port into a military base, it would enable Beijing to repair and rearm their warships and other naval equipment in the same waters in which the US Eastern Seaboard sits, the report added.
“As part of our diplomacy to address maritime-security issues, we have made clear to Equatorial Guinea that certain potential steps involving (Chinese) activity there would raise national-security concerns,” a senior Biden administration official told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
Officials have previously mooted a Chinese military base in Atlantic waters as a nightmare scenario for the US, amid tensions between the two nations over Taiwan and the origins of Covid, the report added.
China only has one overseas military base, in Djibouti, in East Africa, which it opened in 2017. That sits on the other side of the African continent, and looks out onto the waters of the Gulf of Aden.