The US accused the neighboring Chinese military of "irresponsible actions" that include trying to sneak into the US base.
It looks like the US and Chinese militaries have had a lot of trouble getting along since being based in the African country of Djibouti.
The to the director of intelligence at the US Africa Command, Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, told reporters that the Chinese military has conducted “irresponsible actions,” harassing US forces at Camp Lemonnier base.
The Washington Times reports Berg saying that the Chinese have made efforts to restrict access to international airspace near its base. These actions include targeting US pilots with lasers and using drones to interfere with flight operations.
Additionally, Berg said Chinese military has conducted “intrusive activity,” with multiple attempts to “gain access to Camp Lemmonier.”
Camp Lemmonier is currently home to about 4,000 US military and civilian personnel. It opened in 2001 and has been a strategic facility for launching US counter-terrorism activities in east Africa.
China’s neighboring base opened in 2017 and is described as an “overseas support facility.” The country states that the base’s mission serves the “better undertaking its international responsibilities and obligations and better protecting its lawful interests."
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the accusations by stating that they do not “align with the facts.” It also said, “China has always abided by international laws and laws of the host countries and is committed to maintaining regional safety and stability.”
Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, who is a military expert from the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, took things a little further. Speaking with the Global Times, a state-affiliated Chinese news source, Junshe said that the US has been sending low-flying aircraft to spy on the Chinese facility.
The publication also said that the allegations were “just the same old tune struck up again by the US to defame China.”