Chinese Naval Squadron Led By Warship Nanning Makes Historic Visit To Nigeria

The People’s Liberation Army’s naval squadron, led by the warship Nanning, arrived in Nigeria for a historic visit by China’s military to Africa’s Atlantic coast on Sunday, where Beijing has long been seeking to expand its territorial influence.

China’s ambassador to Nigeria reportedly lauded the five-day visit as a watershed moment in bilateral relations, and Nigeria’s navy indicated its willingness to collaborate with China to address maritime security issues as well as preserve stability in the Gulf of Guinea, per a statement issued by China’s embassy on Monday.

Cui Jianchun, China’s ambassador to Nigeria, later informed the BBC that China’s naval fleet’s recent visit to Lagos aimed to enhance security in the waters off West and East Africa, notorious for oil theft and piracy.

Credits: @NigerianNavy / Twitter

Nigeria is a crucial source of oil for China, and in Lagos, China just finished building a deep sea port at approximately $1 billion.

Nigeria’s navy can benefit from its Chinese partners. First, the ambassador mentioned they can exchange tech and experience, noting that they may also help create confidence between these two parties.

Further, he relayed his thoughts on how the nations may collaborate more on tech, infrastructure, and other fronts. China came up with its first-ever naval outpost overseas in 2017 in Djibouti, and there have been rumours that China may also be willing to establish a military facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa. The US defence officials also raised alarms about similar goals in 2022.

However, China’s envoy tried its best to downplay the concerns; he stated that they were working not only to serve the Chinese nation but also to do something meaningful for human progress and world harmony.

China’s naval squadron visited Ghana and the Ivory Coast for four days before landing in Nigeria. They will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon before heading home.

References: Business Insider, Business Ghana

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