U.S. intelligence agencies have learned that China is “secretly” trying to build a facility in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), believed to be a military one, causing heavy diplomatic traffic between the United States and the UAE.
China allegedly tried to secretly set up a military facility in Khalifa Harbor, 30 miles north of Abu Dhabi, the American Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration warned the UAE government about China’s presence in the country, and intensive talks were held between officials from the two countries.
Construction work has now been halted under US pressure, the report said, adding that Biden spoke directly with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan twice in May and August.
UAE officials confirmed that China had heavy commercial activities at Khalife Port, but had no knowledge of the attempt to secretly build a military structure, the report said.
China has strengthened economic ties with the UAE in recent years, the report said, noting that it is already one of the country’s largest oil buyers and trading partners.