Israeli security officials are raising their voices and warn against the Chinese “penetration” into Africa and Israel.
China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017. Now, after more than a year of operation, it is very clear, according to Israeli experts, what the main function of this base is.
“The base is part of a Chinese master plan to penetrate deeper into that region of the world” one expert said. He added that China looks at this region as one that is critical to its ambitions.
Some European countries have military bases or troops based in Djibouti. The Italians operate a base there, while German and Spanish troops are accommodated by the French.
The Europeans are beginning to understand that the Chinese is around them and that they have more ambitions.
Ephraim Halevy, former head of the Israeli Mossad, said that the Chinese commercial and economic activity in the Middle east including Israel, has a security angle. “China wants to become more powerful in the Middle-East, in aspects of defence. It is very close to Iran, which is very important to China as an energy supplier”. He added that China not only buys Iranian oil, but is very active in developing the Iranian oil industry.
“Israel must consider its special relations with the US and look at the Chinese activity in Israel with very sharp eyes. “
He added that China has a military base in Djibouti on the Eastern coast of Africa. “China is very active in this region and that worries Washington. All this is a big reason for caution when letting China put its foot in some major Israeli infrastructure and commercial activities,” he said.
China is also penetrating into Israel, by investments and the performance of major infrastructure programs.
This also is a reason for concern. In recent weeks some experts pointed to the fact that China is building a new port In Haifa, in close proximity to the Israeli navy’s base.