A United States Pentagon report published last week claims that China may soon set up a military base in Kenya. The report claims that China is keen on expanding its military logistics in a number of countries including Kenya and Tanzania.
“The PRC (Peoples Republic of China) has likely considered Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan as locations for PLA (People’s Liberation Army) military logistics facilities,” said the Pentagon in its annual “China Military Power” report to Congress.
According to the report, China could have already initiated talks with countries such as Kenya for the setup.
“The PRC has probably already made overtures to Namibia, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. Known focus areas of PLA planning are along the SLOCs (Sea lines of communication) from China to the Strait of Hormuz, Africa, and the Pacific Islands,” said the report.
The report also says that Beijing’s goal is to leverage its military might to assert itself globally and achieve its foreign policy objectives.
China already opened the first military base in Djibouti in 2017, in a move that is seen as its efforts to launch its political ambitions overseas. The base is occupied by the Chinese Navy Marines with armoured vehicles and artillery support deployed at the site.
The Military reports have emerged amid China’s plans to implement the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative which aims to extend trade with African countries including Kenya.
The initiative was launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping as a signature foreign and economic policy. Under the initiative, China has granted Kenya billions in debts to fund a number of infrastructure projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway.
The US has however warned Kenya against heavy borrowing for the projects saying it could easily get burdened with debts to Beijing for the projects which have mainly been built with Chinese labour.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has refuted the claims saying that borrowing to fund such projects only serves to grow and develop the economy.