US Officials Claim China Seeks Military Base on Africa’s West Coast

China currently only has one overseas military base in Djibouti

Unnamed US officials told The Wall Street Journal that classified US intelligence reports “suggest” China intends to establish a military facility in Equatorial Guinea, a small African nation located on the country’s Atlantic coast.

The officials did not share any details of the intelligence, and it’s not clear how the assessment was made. The officials said China likely has its eye on Bata, a port city where there is a Chinese-built commercial port. But Chinese companies have built ports across the world, so that’s hardly evidence of a future military base.

The report said the Biden administration has warned Equatorial Guinea against hosting a Chinese base. “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,” one official said.

If China did have its eye on building a base in Equatorial Guinea, it would only be Beijing’s second overseas military facility, which is nothing compared to the US’s global military presence. In Africa alone, the US has about 29 bases and is involved in drone wars and special operations missions.

China’s military base is located in Djibouti and was established for anti-piracy operations. Beijing’s presence in Africa is more visible through its infrastructure projects across the continent, something the US is trying to counter.

In a recent visit to Africa, Secretary of State Antony Blinken took shots at China’s investments. The common claim against China’s infrastructure projects in Africa is that the countries are left in insurmountable debt, but many African nations are happy to do business with Beijing. In Senegal, Blinken witnessed the signing of contracts between four US companies and the government and said the US is investing “without saddling the country with a debt that it cannot handle.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.