China Considering Building Military Base in Kenya, US Reveals

  • File image of China's military base in Djibouti
    File image of China's military base in Djibouti
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  • A report released by the United States Department of Defence (DoD) on Tuesday, September 1, shed light on plans by China to build military bases in Africa, with Kenya among locations being considered.

    The annual report to Congress was titled  "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2020."

    It highlighted plans by China to establish a logistical network for its military across the Indian Ocean.

    According to the report, Kenya is among several countries in Asia and Africa being considered to host the military logistics facilities.

    File image of soldiers at the launch of China's military base in Djibouti in 2017
    File image of soldiers at the launch of China's military base in Djibouti in 2017
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    At the moment, China has a single military base in Africa, in Djibouti. Notably, it was unveiled in 2017 and was the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Navy's (PLAN) first overseas military base.

    The US DoD claimed in the report to Congress that the proposed new military bases were meant to support China's naval, air and ground forces.

    "The PRC is seeking to establish a more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the PLA to project and sustain military power at greater distances.

    "The PRC has likely considered Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan as locations for PLA military logistics facilities," the report reads in part.

    It cited official sources who revealed that the bases would facilitate movement of international public goods like support to United Nations (UN) operations and help secure China's interests abroad.

    The US DoD identified the expansion plan as a threat to United States forces.

    "A global PLA military logistics network could both interfere with US military operations and support offensive operations against the United States as the PRC’s global military objectives evolve," the report reads in part.

    Kenya plays host to a number of military bases, including Camp Simba in Lamu County, a United States naval base.

    The British military also maintains a presence in Kenya, with hundreds of soldiers stationed in Nanyuki, Laikipia County.

    Host nations typically benefit from various fees paid by foreign governments for the bases.

    In its report, the US DoD noted the importance of maintaining stable relationships with host nations.

    "Host nations can perform an essential role in regulating the PRC’s military operations, as PRC officials very likely recognise that a stable long-term relationship with the host nation is critical to the success of their military logistics facilities," the US DoD report divulges.

    File image of soldiers at the launch of China's military base in Djibouti in 2017
    File image of soldiers at the launch of China's military base in Djibouti in 2017
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