- Chinese planners are not only thinking of the continent [Africa], they are also eyeing islands in the Atlantic, specifically Terceira, one of the Azores.
- On that island, part of Portugal, there is a port and, of even greater interest, Air Base No. 4. Better known as Lajes Field, the facility is jointly operated by the U.S. Air Force and its Portuguese counterpart.
- If China controlled the base, the Atlantic would no longer be secure…. Chinese planes could patrol the northern and central portions of the Atlantic and thereby cut air and sea traffic between the U.S. and Europe. Beijing would also be able to deny access to the nearby Mediterranean Sea.
- Pentagon budget cutters have been scaling back activities at Lajes, making it a “ghost base.” As a result, Lajes is ripe for China to take it over.
- China could get a base even closer than [Lajes]. About 90 miles east of Palm Beach, on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.
- Sri Lanka is perhaps the model for China’s militarization of the Bahamas. In addition to the overly large facility in Freeport, there is a Chinese-funded port on Abaco Island, also part of the Bahamas. The port in Abaco is essentially useless from a commercial point of view and could fall into Beijing’s hands.
- China, therefore, could have two naval bases close to Florida, unless the Biden administration moves fast to block Chinese penetration of the Bahamas.
- At the moment, America is, with trade and investment, strengthening a hostile Chinese regime, which has declared the U.S. to be its enemy. Last year, America’s two-way trade with China totaled $560.1 billion.
China is scouting for a naval base on the west coast of Africa. In the near future, therefore, Chinese ships could be regularly patrolling off America’s East Coast.
At the moment, China’s only offshore military base is in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. The facility is near some of the world’s busiest shipping routes, including those going through the Suez Canal.
Townsend believes the People’s Liberation Army Navy is surveying locations on Africa’s west coast, from Mauritania in the north to Namibia in the south. “Now they’re casting their gaze to the Atlantic coast and wanting to get such a base there,” the general told the Associated Press.
Africa is important in its own right. “Located at the crossroads of the world, Africa watches over strategic choke points including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Strait of Sicily, the Red Sea, the Bab al Mandeb, and the Mozambique Channel,” General Townsend pointed out in a publicly released 2021 Posture Statement for Congress. “The land mass of Africa is larger than the United States, China, India, Japan, and most of Europe combined.”
The African continent is home to 11 of the 25 fast-growing economies and is the world’s most demographically vital region.
Chinese planners are not only thinking of the continent, they are also eyeing islands in the Atlantic, specifically Terceira, one of the Azores.