Nairobi, Dec 8 (EFE).- Equatorial Guinea Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue denied there being an agreement to host a Chinese military base in the country, in response to content published by American newspaper the Wall Street Journal.
“I want to go out of my way to deny the information of the American Wall Street Journal press about an alleged Chinese military base in Equatorial Guinea,” Obiang wrote Tuesday night on his Twitter account.
“China is a model of a friendly country and a strategic partner but, for now, there is no such agreement,” said the vice president, son of the Equatorial Guinean head of state Teodoro Obiang, who has governed the small Central African country as a strongman since 1979.
“Remember also that Equatorial Guinea is a sovereign and independent country and can sign cooperation agreements with any friendly country,” added the vice president, in charge of national defense and state security.
His response came after the Wall Street Journal published a story Sunday alleging classified United States intelligence reports suggest China is seeking to establish a military base in Equatorial Guinea.
This would be China’s first permanent military presence in the Atlantic Ocean, where its ships could dock and refuel.
The newspaper said US deputy chief national security adviser Jon Finer visited Equatorial Guinea on a mission in October to persuade President Obiang and his son to reject China’s maneuvers.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby refrained from commenting on the newspaper’s information at a Monday press conference.
“Certain potential steps involving the People’s Republic of China and the activity of the People’s Republic of China there would raise national security concerns for us,” Kirby said.
In an April appearance before the US Senate, head of US Military Command in Africa Gen. Stephen Townsend said the most significant threat from China to US interests in that area would come if it achieves “a usable naval Installation on the African Atlantic Coast.”
Since its independence from Spain in 1968, Equatorial Guinea, which has maintained a close relationship with China for decades, has been considered by human rights organizations as one of the world’s most repressive countries.
Obiang has led this oil-producing country since 1979, when he overthrew his uncle Francisco Macias in a coup, and is currently the world’s longest-serving president. EFE