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>> China's approach, which encourages dependency.>> US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is off on a tour of Africa looking to boost ties on a continent that is increasingly turning toward China for aid and economic deals. A country he accused of having, quote, predatory practices there. And one of the most important stops is Djibouti, where some in the US government fear an increasing Chinese military presence will interfere with American interests.
Ben Blanchard is in the Reuters Beijing bureau.>> Djibouti is an extremely important country for China because it is the location of China's first ever overseas military base. The Djiboutian president, Ismaïl Guelleh, came to visit China in which he described himself as being a very close friend of China's.
And many regional diplomats see that this is just the first in a number of overseas bases that China may end up opening in the next few years.>> Djibouti is strategically placed at the mouth of the Red Sea and may host more foreign military installations than any country in the world.
China's joined Italy, Japan, the US, France, Britain, and Saudi Arabia, and more may be on the way. And after Djibouti abruptly took control of one of its ports away from a Dubai company last month, it's caused handwringing by some members of Congress.>> So some in the US governments appear to be concerned that the Djibouti government will simply take this port and grant it to the Chinese government as a gift.
Now China hasn't actually said publically whether or not they think that's going to happen. In fact, the foreign ministry today specifically said that they have no understanding of the situation related to the port. Now China is quite used to criticism from the United States and other Western countries.
China points out that actually its aid to Africa is in many African countries. Most African countries, in fact, widely welcomed because China does not attach the sort of political conditions to its aid tha, t for example, Western countries do.>> The top American general in Africa told lawmakers on Tuesday that Chinese control of the port would have significant consequences.