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US senators alarmed if China gets control of Djibouti port

US senators alarmed if China gets control of Djibouti port

WASHINGTON: Two prominent US senators expressed alarm on Tuesday about the military and political consequences if China gains control of a port terminal in Djibouti, and said they were concerned it could further boost Beijing’s influence in East Africa.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons said they were concerned about Djibouti’s termination of a contract for the Doraleh Container Terminal with United Arab Emirates-based DP World in February and the nationalisation of the port in September.

Reports that Djibouti, heavily indebted to Beijing, would likely cede the port’s operations to a Chinese state-owned enterprise were “even more alarming,” they said.

The letter was the latest in a series of efforts by members of Congress who want to counter China’s growing international influence, which they see as a threat to US economic and security interests.