It sounds like something taken directly from the pages of a science fiction novel. “Chinese personnel at the country’s first overseas military base in Djibouti have been using lasers to interfere with US military aircraft at a nearby American base,” according to CNN. What is even more striking is that these actions have “resulted in injuries to US pilots.”
The United States has voiced “formal diplomatic protest with Beijing” over the deeds, even as American forces come to terms with Russia’s tech jamming only last week. Furthermore, a notice from the U.S. says “to exercise caution when flying in certain areas in Djibouti.” This was “was issued due to lasers being directed at US aircraft on a small number of separate occasions over the last few weeks.”
“During one incident, there were two minor eye injuries of aircrew flying in a C-130 that resulted from exposure to military-grade laser beams, which were reported to have originated from the nearby Chinese base,” the notice also said. Even if in error, at the point the Americans are harmed by foreign weapons, tensions heat up rapidly.
The U.S. State Department has lodged a formal complaint about the matter with China.
Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White has said that the U.S. has “formally demarched” China and has “requested” that the actions be investigated. Noting that the incidences are increasing in number, White admitted, “This activity poses a true threat to our airmen.”
These devices of China’s are also being used in the South China Sea, an area where the Asian nation has started building man-made islands that threaten commerce and free trade.
The Djiboutian government asked the U.S. to halt actions over that nation, a vital staging ground for attacks against terrorists in Yemen and Somalia. Djibouti and China are developing “economic ties” that is causing some concern about where their allegiances lie.
Gen. Thomas Waldhauser overseas “African Command” and said, “We are taking significant steps on the counterintelligence side so that we have all the defenses that we need there, there is no doubt about that.” He was referring to the location of the Chinese base.
China has cracked down on Islam with an iron fist, so their impeding of U.S. actions groups like ISIS is rather unexpected.
Then again, this is about far more than terrorism. With China also working quite closely with Russia, as the two work to confuse U.S. systems, this could be the start of a technical tit for tat that takes everyone to WWIII.