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THE PENTAGON — The current African Partnership Station mission in the Gulf of Guinea aboard the USNS Carson City (T-EPF-7) seeks to help partner nations improve their security and prosperity, not to rival the economic encroachment of China in Africa, a leader of that mission said on Wednesday.
“We are keenly aware that the People’s Republic of China is also trying to make inroads in West Africa,” said Capt. Frank Okata, commander Task Force 63 in the U.S. Navy Europe-Africa Command. China’s one-belt, one-road economic expansion drive involves “some significant investments in infrastructure construction that could be used for different purposes than what we are trying to do.
Carson - City - Share - Sets - Countries
“With Carson City, we are trying to share skill sets, to help these countries so they can surveil their economic zones,” he said.
“We’re not there to build infrastructure, not there to build an enduring presence. We’re there to share ideas, increase interoperability,” Okata said.
Reporters - Pentagon - Telephone - Call - Naples
Briefing a few reporters in the Pentagon via a telephone call from Naples, Okata said: “This kind of engagement is instrumental in improving maritime security along the African coastline, territorial seas and exclusive economic zones, so that our African partners can be successful and prosperous, securing their waterways and maintaining surveillance.”
Carson City, an Expeditionary Fast Transport with a civilian master and crew, has been reinforced by a military detachment of U.S. sailors, a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement team and medical and religious personnel, plus Portuguese, Spanish and Italian sailors, for a visit to half a dozen West Africa nations as part of the...
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