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U.S., European News Outlets Fail to Question Pentagon Assertion China Wants to Build Atlantic Base in Africa

The Wall Street Journal’s report from December 5th that relayed Pentagon concerns about China’s purported ambition to build a navy base on Africa’s Atlantic coast in Equatorial Guinea has now spread so far across the media landscape, even to usually discerning publications like The Economist. This is increasingly turning the claim into an “established fact,” even though neither the U.S. government nor WSJ have provided any factual evidence to support the claim.

The South China Morning Post stands alone as the only prominent international media outlet that sought a Chinese comment on the story. The SCMP quoted “a source close to the Chinese military” who noted that a base in EQ doesn’t make a lot of strategic sense. “It is too far away from China, doesn’t sit along China’s major maritime routes and even its oil, once extracted, is more suitable to be sold to Europe rather than back to China to maximize profits,” said the source quoted by the Hong Kong-based newspaper.

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