WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent the following letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan regarding China’s growing influence around the world, and urged particular examination of the expanding relationship between China and the Guelleh government in Djibouti.
“Djibouti is the case study of China’s subterfuge, masked as sacks of Yuan.” Sen. Cruz wrote. “Following Chinese demands that Djibouti repay a portion of their debt, President Guelleh is suspected of offering Beijing the port facility as an alternative form of repayment. […] Djibouti is home to Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. base in Africa. Hosting over 4,000 military and intelligence personnel, Camp Lemonnier serves as a key strategic outpost for enabling counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Like the port facility agreement scrapped by President Guelleh, the U.S. operates Camp Lemonnier under a multi-decade lease. I am concerned Guelleh could break this agreement should his Chinese patrons call in another debt leaving the United States limited in our ability to project power. Given the vital military and commercial implications in the region, we must demand more of those that call themselves allies. As you examine this matter and work to gain assurances from President Guelleh, please respond with how you will also ensure the government in Djibouti does not move further toward full Chinese client state status.”
The full letter may be viewed here.