Work on suspected 'Chinese military base' in UAE abandoned after US intervention

Work on suspected 'Chinese military base' in UAE abandoned after US intervention
2 min read
22 November, 2021
US intelligence detected 'suspicious' construction activity in a container terminal operated by a Chinese company in the port of Abu Dhabi, and pressured to stop the works.
US intelligence believes construction of a secret Chinese military base was taking place in Abu Dhabi [Getty]

Construction at a suspected "secret" Chinese military facility  in the UAE was stopped at Washington's request, a report by The Wall Street Journal revealed on Friday.

"The UAE has never had an agreement plan, talks or intention to host a Chinese military base or outpost of any kind," the UAE embassy in Washington told the daily. 

The construction work was "recently" stopped following a visit to the UAE site by US officials.

Earlier this year, US intelligence identified "suspicious" construction work inside a container terminal operated by Cosco, a Chinese shipping company, at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port.

Satellite imagery of the port revealed huge ongoing excavations suitable for a multi-story building. It appeared that the managers had attempted to cover up the construction work, sparking the suspicions of the US.

President Joe Biden's administration disclosed their findings to UAE authorities.

In May and August, two direct conversations took place between Biden and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the subject, the daily reported. 

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also travelled to the UAE in September to present the US intelligence findings to Abu Dhabi.

The Chinese navy, seemingly pursuing an expansionist global strategy, established its first overseas base in Djibouti four years ago. The base was built inside a Chinese-run commercial port with the knowledge of local authorities.

Djibouti is strategically located in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa, and already hosts several Western military bases, including the largest US base on the African continent.

The US and China military rivalry at sea has been on the rise over the past months, following tensions between China and US allies in the South China Sea. 

The State Department warned Beijing on Friday that the US would intervene to defend the Philippines in the event of a Chinese attack, following an incident at sea between Chinese and Filipino boats.