US worries China could seize control of DP World’s Djibouti port

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The seizure of DP World’s port in strategically important Djibouti at the entrance to the Red Sea spurs worries in the US army and among politicians of a Chinese takeover..

The US military commander in charge of the country’s troops in Africa, General Thomas Waldhauser, warns of significant consequences if Chinese interests take control of the important port in Djibouti in the southern part of the Red Sea at the entry point to Suez. The government of the African nation has seized control of the port, which until recently had been operated on a 30-year concession by DP World.

The port and terminal operator calls the seizure illegal. China’s behemoths boost the country’s maritime vision DP World, which is preparing a court arbitration in London, says that the move represents an attempt by the Djibouti government to renegotiate the financial terms of the concession. The case has triggered political concerns in the US, reports Reuters after a congressional hearing Tuesday, at which Congressmen implied that Djibouti will hand the port over to China.

China has already built a military base just a few kilometers from a strategically important US base in Djibouti. The US base is home to more than 4,000 soldiers, including special forces which use the base as a launching point for operations in Yemen and Somalia. “There are some indications of (China) looking for additional facilities, specifically on the eastern coast (…) So Djibouti happens to be the first – there will be more,” said General Waldhauser Tuesday. Cosco Shipping targets more port purchases after Orient Overseas China has invested big-time in infrastructure in Africa and other parts of the world as part of the country’s trade offensive in recent years, which under banner One Belt One Road aims to link Asia to Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.

English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch

SOURCE: SHIPPINGWATCH

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