The United State’s top military officer in Africa has warned it is “only a matter of time” before China deploys an aircraft carrier to the continent. Beijing has looked to expand China’s influence in Africa with upgrades to the country’s naval base in Djibouti along the Gulf of Aden. A new pier at the Chinese base has set off concerns that Xi Jinping may soon send large warships to the region.
NBC News’ Keir Simmons asked: “China has now completed the construction of a pier close to here, do you expect to see a Chinese aircraft carrier dock there, Chinese submarines?
Major General Zana told NBC: “I think the pier that the Chinese have constructed will be capable of hosting just about any vessel within the Chinese inventory.
“We have not seen Chinese vessels at that pier.
“I think that’s only a matter of time.”
China is considering more military bases around the globe, according to the Pentagon, across Asia and Africa and is reportedly in talks to build a military port on the Atlantic.
Major General Zana added: “We should be very concerned about China’s basing interests for having African ports and land bases and what that would mean for our country.
“I think that’s consequential.”
It comes as China looks to assert military dominance over the South China Sea and Taiwan.
A Taiwanese lawmaker has warned an all-out conflict with China for control over the island nation would result in a “global catastrophe.”
Wang Ting-Yu is a member of Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and told Express.co.uk that, while the Taiwanese Government shoulder their full responsibility for defending the island, the international community needed to send a strong message to Jinping
Mr Wang told Express.co.uk: “We need to protect ourselves and send a signal to the world, make China…make Beijing realise there is something they can do.
“There is no room for their miscalculation, otherwise, we will face the catastrophe for the whole world.
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“We try to protect our democracy, we cherish our democracy because under this kind of threat for more than 40 years, we establish our industrial capability.
“We make our economy performers, better and better day after day, and we value the democracy we struggle for that.
“So now China want to annex Taiwan, they want to destroy our democracy, our freedom to choose our own future.
“So our 23 million people here on this tiny island, we know the risk and the responsibility is on our own shoulder,” he added.