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Washington, DC — China intends to establish a base at Bata, a port on the Atlantic coast of Equatorial Guinea, the Wall Street Journal reported in December, citing classified American intelligence reports and unnamed U.S. officials.

Such a facility in the small African nation of some two million people, would allow ships of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) “to rearm and refit opposite the East Coast of the U.S.- a threat that is setting off alarm bells at the White House and Pentagon.” the officials told the Journal.

Although China does not possess such capabilities in the Atlantic region, the Biden Administration is worried “that the Chinese would develop a naval base in Equatorial Guinea, which would give them naval presence on the Atlantic,” Major General Andrew Rohling, Commander of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force – Africa, told the Journal.

The growing Chinese presence in Africa, which has been a concern of U.S. strategists for many years, has gained greater attention recently as Washington has come to view competition with the People’s Republic as an overriding military and geopolitical priority.