U.S. confronts China, complains about use of lasers after American pilots injured

Elias Hubbard
Мая 5, 2018

China on Friday rejected USA allegations that Chinese nationals shone military-grade lasers at American pilots in Djibouti, dismissing the claims as "inconsistent with facts".

Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, hosts a US military base that is home to about 4,000 personnel, including special operations forces, and is a launch pad for operations in Yemen and Somalia. However, the Pentagon accusations highlight the concern the United States has about a Chinese military base just miles from a critical USA base in Djibouti. "It's a serious matter and we're taking it very seriously", said Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesman.

The alleged incidents reinforce United States concerns about the creation of the first overseas military base China near the largest USA military base in Africa, and the growing reputation of China as a world military power. The intent was unclear.

Over the last couple of weeks, in at least two and perhaps as many as 10 incidents, USA aircraft landing at the base were hit by laser beams.

Several intelligence sources report that Chinese armed forces are suspected in the use of combat laser in the new Chinese military base in Djibouti. "After careful verification, we have told the U.S. explicitly that the so-called accusations are totally inconsistent with facts", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

"We have already refuted the untrue criticisms via official channels". She says the incidents represent a serious threat to USA airmen. "The Chinese side consistently strictly abides by global law and laws of the local country, and is committed to protecting regional security and stability". It also sits on the Bab el-Mandeb, or the "Gate of Tears", the strait separating Africa from the Arabian peninsular, which guards the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

This year, the USA military put countering China, along with Russian Federation, at the center of a new national defense strategy.

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