Evidence of potential construction of a Chinese military site has been observed by American spy services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Washington Post obtained top-secret intelligence that the construction activity had been identified around Abu Dhabi in December 2022. Those documents were leaked by National Guardsman Jack Teixeira on a Discord server, who faces 15 years in prison.
The activity in question occurred around a year after the UAE, a US ally, had announced that they would stop the construction after US officials suggested that the area would end up being used by Beijing for military purposes, per the report. Now, the US is reportedly under the assumption that the recent activity in the area is a product of the UAE attempting to strengthen its relationship with China, as Beijing attempts to bolster its global military infrastructure.
Though the US has been keeping a close watch on construction activity around the Khalifa Port, China and the UAE have continued to maintain that the port venture is nothing more than commercial, per the International Business Times. In late 2021, the UAE announced that it had brought the construction of a Chinese shipping port to a stop, at the behest of the US.
According to one of the documents released on Discord, the facility “likely was connected with municipal power and water” and “a walled perimeter was completed for a PLA logistics storage site.” A second document suggested that the PLA facility was “a major part” of China’s development of establishing a military base in the UAE.
The possibility of the UAE buddying up to China is that it could fissure the relationship they have with the US. The Emiratis have consistently been the third-largest buyer of American weapons in the world since 2012, according to the report. Additionally, the UAE has offered the US a substantial amount of support, which has seen about 5,000 US military personnel stationed at an air base about 20 miles away from Abu Dhabi.However, it appears that China and the UAE have been progressively strengthening their economic relationship since the beginning of this year, including investment opportunities in “new economic sectors, trade, logistics, real estate, financial services, technology, and insurance,” per Arab News.