US Calls China’s Use of Lasers in Djibouti ‘True Threat’

The United States is promising to hold China to account for what officials describe as a dangerous and reckless use of lasers near a U.S. military base in Africa.

"There will be near-term and long-term consequences," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday when asked about Beijing's use of high-powered, military-grade lasers to repeatedly target U.S. aircraft flying over the east African country of Djibouti.

According to U.S. defense officials, the lasers were fired from the Chinese military base in Doraleh on at least three occasions, resulting in minor eye injuries for two American pilots.

"They are very serious incidents," Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday.

"This activity poses a true threat to our airmen," she said, noting the United States had lodged a formal protest with the Chinese government. "We expect China to investigate it thoroughly."

China did not immediately respond to the accusation but has complained in the past about foreign military spy planes flying over its Djibouti outpost, sources familiar with the situation said.

The U.S. military issued a warning to pilots about the use of lasers in Djibouti in a notice that was posted last month on the Federal Aviation Administration website, urging them to use "extreme caution."

Pentagon officials warn the continued use of such military-grade lasers could cause serious harm to air crews and threaten the safety of the surrounding area. They said that while there had been some similar instances in the past, China's use of the laser has increased over the past several weeks. That, along with the injuries to U.S. airmen, caused rising concern, they said.

Close to US facility

The Chinese military installation in Djibouti, its first foreign base, is very close to Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. military facility on the African continent and a hub for U.S. counterterror operations.

During testimony before U.S. lawmakers in March, U.S. Africa Command's General Thomas Waldhauser described the Chinese military base at Doraleh as being "right outside our gates."

"We are not naive," Waldhauser said at the time. "We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need."

The issue threatens to further escalate tension between the U.S. and China. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has imposed tariffs on some Chinese products and is threatening more. The administration has also placed new restrictions on U.S. technology exports to the East Asian country.

Source: Voice of America

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US Calls China’s Use of Lasers in Djibouti ‘True Threat’

The United States is promising to hold China to account for what officials describe as a dangerous and reckless use of lasers near a U.S. military base in Africa.

"There will be near-term and long-term consequences," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday when asked about Beijing's use of high-powered, military-grade lasers to repeatedly target U.S. aircraft flying over the east African country of Djibouti.

According to U.S. defense officials, the lasers were fired from the Chinese military base in Doraleh on at least three occasions, resulting in minor eye injuries for two American pilots.

"They are very serious incidents," Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters Thursday.

"This activity poses a true threat to our airmen," she said, noting the United States had lodged a formal protest with the Chinese government. "We expect China to investigate it thoroughly."

China did not immediately respond to the accusation but has complained in the past about foreign military spy planes flying over its Djibouti outpost, sources familiar with the situation said.

The U.S. military issued a warning to pilots about the use of lasers in Djibouti in a notice that was posted last month on the Federal Aviation Administration website, urging them to use "extreme caution."

Pentagon officials warn the continued use of such military-grade lasers could cause serious harm to air crews and threaten the safety of the surrounding area. They said that while there had been some similar instances in the past, China's use of the laser has increased over the past several weeks. That, along with the injuries to U.S. airmen, caused rising concern, they said.

Close to US facility

The Chinese military installation in Djibouti, its first foreign base, is very close to Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. military facility on the African continent and a hub for U.S. counterterror operations.

During testimony before U.S. lawmakers in March, U.S. Africa Command's General Thomas Waldhauser described the Chinese military base at Doraleh as being "right outside our gates."

"We are not naive," Waldhauser said at the time. "We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need."

The issue threatens to further escalate tension between the U.S. and China. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has imposed tariffs on some Chinese products and is threatening more. The administration has also placed new restrictions on U.S. technology exports to the East Asian country.

Source: Voice of America

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