Chinese fleet visits Nigeria

The visit is part of a broader Chinese effort to grow its influence across the countries of the western side of Africa

A naval fleet of China’s armed forces arrived in Nigeria for a five-day visit, in a rare visit of the Chinese navy to Africa’s Atlantic coast, where Beijing has long made efforts to grow its influence.

The Chinese ambassador to Nigeria praised relations between China and Nigeria and stressed upon China’s willingness to work with partner countries to tackle maritime security threats and maintain stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

The western coast of Africa is an oil-rich region and its countries export crude oil worldwide. China is dependent from crude oil imports to maintain its growth and major Chinese petrochemical companies are engaged in deep-sea production of the coast of Nigeria.

China also explores the possibility for its permanent naval presence in the Gulf of Guinea.

In 2016, the cash-strapped island nation of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf established relations with Beijing after cutting ties with democratically governed Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.

China opened its first overseas naval base in Djibouti in the northeast in 2017, fanning concern that Beijing might set up more regional “logistics facilities” as its military develops the capacity to operate thousands of kilometres from home.

Source: grdiplomatic.com, Reuters