THE DISCORD LEAKS | The activity has disturbed some U.S. officials, who worry a longstanding U.S. ally is growing too close to Beijing.
American spy services detected construction at a suspected Chinese military facility in the United Arab Emirates in December — one year after Washington’s oil-rich ally announced it was halting the project because of U.S. concerns, according to top-secret intelligence documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Activities at a port near Abu Dhabi are among several developments in the UAE involving the Chinese military that U.S. intelligence is monitoring out of concern that the Emiratis — a longtime U.S. security partner — are developing closer security ties to China at the expense of U.S. interests, according to the documents and related interviews with senior Biden administration officials. Sightings of Chinese military personnel around other sensitive construction sites have also disturbed U.S. officials.
Beijing’s efforts in the UAE are part of an ambitious campaign by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to build a global military network that includes at least five overseas bases and 10 logistical support sites by 2030, says one of the documents, which features a map of other planned facilities in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and throughout Africa.
Chinese military officials call the initiative “Project 141,” the leaked materials say.
The Post obtained the classified documents, which have not been previously reported, from a trove of intelligence material leaked onto the Discord messaging platform. The disclosures, including details about Beijing’s aerial surveillance program and plans to develop supersonic drones, come at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China as both countries vie for global influence and resources.
Photo: washingtonpost.com, Kamran Jebreili/AP