China is pushing ahead with a planned military base in the UAE in a clear snub to the US, leaked papers say
By Tom Porter
28 April 2023
China has resumed the construction of a military base in the UAE, leaker papers show.
Plans for a Chinese base had earlier been halted amid US concerns.
China is riling the US by forming ties with its traditional allies in the region.
China resumed construction of a military base in the United Arab Emirates, a move likely to alarm US officials and increase concerns that another US ally in the Middle East is drawing closer to China. According to leaked US intelligence documents obtained by The Washington Post, construction has resumed at a Chinese military base just outside Abu Dhabi. Plans for a base were halted in 2021 after the US voiced its objections. But The Post’s documents indicate that the plans now appear to be going ahead.
According to the report, US intelligence is monitoring Chinese activity at the base and at other locations in the oil-rich UAE amid concerns that it is drawing closer to Beijing. The presence of Chinese officials at several sensitive military sites have alarmed US intelligence, the report says.
The base is part an ambitious plan to create a global network of military facilities in ports across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, by 2030, according to The Post’s documents.
China in recent months has made an audacious power play in the Middle East, organising a diplomatic thaw between longtime rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. Beijing has exposed the limitations of US influence in a region where it’s long been the dominant international power.
Saudi Arabia, another traditional US ally in the region, has also riled the White House by drawing closer to China, holding a summit last year to announce cooperation with Beijing across a broad range of security and economic issues.