U.S. General Stephen Townsend, outgoing commander of the U.S. Africa Command, gave an interview on July 28 in which he drew attention to China’s efforts to expand its interests in Africa through economic measures and expansion of its military capacity.

The general recalled how Beijing has already expanded its naval base in Djibouti, which is now also capable of hosting aircraft carriers, saying he was dubious about the real purpose of this expansion and suspected a desire to expand its political and military influence capabilities on the continent (https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2022/7/28/usafricom-commander-warns-of-growing-chinese-influence-in-africa).

At the same time, Townsend said, China is seeking the possibility of opening a new naval base on the Atlantic coast as well, which could pose a direct challenge to U.S. security.

Nonetheless, General Townsend added, in spite of the growing political tension between the U.S. and China, where units from the two countries are in close contact, as in Djibouti, coexistence is not only peaceful but often cooperative.

The general recalled how, just a couple of years ago, as a result of a large fire that broke out at a landfill site south of Camp Lemonnier, U.S. and Chinese forces found themselves working together to help Djiboutian authorities with emergency management (https://www.businessinsider.com/us-chinese-troops-coexist-and-cooperate-in-djibouti-general-says-2022-7?r=US&IR=T).


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