China plans to establish military base in Kenya

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020 00:00 |
A British army officer during a traing at the Nanyuki base. Photo/PD/FILE

Kenya is among countries where China plans to establish a military base, a report released by the United States Department of Defence has revealed.

The report titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” has already been forwarded to the Congress.

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

Currently, China has a single military base in Africa, in Djibouti which was unveiled in 2017 and was the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Navy’s (PLA)first overseas military base.

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

Other countries in Africa which are being considered are Tanzania, Seychelles, Namibia and Angola.

However, the US Department of Defence sees the planned expansion plan as a threat to its forces.

“A global PLA military logistics network could both interfere with US military operations and support offensive operations against the US as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) global military objectives evolve,” the department says in the report.

The report states that the US Defence Department has information 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,” reads the report.

Huge benefits

Other countries under consideration are Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan.

 “These locations are seen as suitable for PLA military logistics facilities,” reads the report.

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.

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.

The setting up of military bases come in huge benefits both financially and materially, including fees paid by foreign governments to the hosting nations.

 In its report, the US Department of Defense report 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,” warns the US report.

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