Is China Building a Secret Military Base in Afghanistan?
China may be building a military base in Afghanistan to help combat terrorism in the region, the South China Morning Post reported on August 29. Citing anonymous sources tied to the Chinese military, the report said that China was planning to station at least one battalion of troops at the base to train Afghani soldiers. If the report is true, it marks a significant step forward in China-Afghanistan relations.
The Chinese government denies the existence of the base. Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, dismissed the idea at a press conference this week, saying, “After looking into it, the relevant report is not true.” When asked if China was planning on sending troops to the base, she said, “Since the construction and training, this situation, it doesn’t exist—it’s not true. So anything related naturally is not true.”
However, the Chinese government has previously denied reports of military developments that have turned out to be true. It denied that it was building islands in international waters of the South China Sea—until the islands became too obvious to ignore. It also denied it was planning its first overseas military base in Djibouti—which opened last year. The military base in Afghanistan may be a similar situation. One anonymous military source told the South China Morning Post that the base is already under construction.
According to the report, the Chinese government has been funding the construction of the base in the mountainous Wakhan. Located in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, the Wakhan is a narrow strip of territory that borders China. The Chinese government has worried for years that terrorism and instability in Afghanistan will spill over into China through the Wakhan.
China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang region borders the Wakhan. In the last few years, China’s ruling Communist Party has cracked down on the spread of Islam in the province, essentially turning it into a surveillance state. The Chinese government fears radical Islamic ideas taking root in Xinjiang. Building a military base in the Wakhan would allow it to combat the security threat on its western border by literally cutting it off at the pass.
Chinese military expert Li Jie told the South China Morning Post, “If they’re going to eliminate the so-called three forces [separatism, terrorism and religious extremism], they need to go to their power bases and take them down. But since the [Chinese People’s Liberation Army] is not familiar with the terrain, and with life in Afghanistan, bilateral cooperation is the best way to get win-win results.”
Song Zhongping, a military analyst from Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post, “A key function of the training base will be to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation and military exchanges between Beijing and Kabul, which is also part of their efforts to stop separatists from infiltrating Xinjiang. Afghanistan is very weak on counterterrorism, and the authorities there are worried about a Taliban resurgence, but they can’t do anything about it without help from the U.S., China and other countries.”
Afghanistan is also important to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, a transport infrastructure project that China intends to be a modern equivalent of the ancient Silk Road trade route. The initiative requires the cooperation of key Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. In January, Stratfor called the Wakhan corridor “an increasingly important component” of the new Silk Road. The easiest overland route from China to Europe crosses through Afghanistan and neighboring Tajikistan. If the base is real, it will help China keep out Islamic influences and ensure that the activities of the Belt and Road Initiative can progress.
This is not the first time that rumors have surfaced about China’s Afghanistan base. In January, Russia-based Ferghana News reported that Afghanistan was building a military base in Badakshan, paid for by China. China swiftly denied the claims. Ferghana quoted a spokesman from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, who said that China was funding “all material and technical expenses for this base—weaponry, uniforms for soldiers, military equipment, and everything else necessary for its functioning.” But Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, said that China was not building a “military base” in Afghanistan, although China “has provided some aid and help to the Afghanistan side and is willing to continue to make common efforts with the Afghanistan side to maintain the security and stability of both countries and the region at large.”
The Trumpet keeps a close eye on China’s military and economic activities because the Bible prophesies that China will become part of a soon-coming economic alliance—a “mart of nations.” The goal of this short-lived economic behemoth will be to block the United States out of world trade. Editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the July 2016 Trumpet that Asia will form a trade bloc with Europe that will exclude and besiege the United States and Britain.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has already increased economic integration between Europe and China. The trade war with America has also alienated these two power blocs from their former New World trading partner. With a military base in the Wakhan, China would be protecting its economic interests at home and abroad.
According to the Bible, China will be part of a powerful alliance of Asian nations called “the kings of the east” with a combined military force of 200 million men. Nuclear-armed China has already been pouring cash into its military, which is advancing in technology and size. This month, it plans to join Russia in its largest war games since the Cold War. After establishing its first foreign military base in Djibouti, it may now be eyeing one in Vanuatu. It has taken over and militarized the South China Sea.
China may initially deny reports about its military activity, but that doesn’t erase the facts: The People’s Republic has stepped up its efforts to extend its economic and military power across the globe.
The Trumpet wrote in September 2017:
It is amazing to see how God’s prophecies about China for our day coincide with China’s recent activity. God gave China its unique geography and influenced world events enough to ensure they would unfold according to His prophecies. Now this Asian giant is coming out of its isolationist ways. It has gained tremendous economic clout that poses a considerable threat to the United States. Its capability as a military power is also rising to levels commensurate with those foretold in Scripture.
But that doesn’t get to the heart of why the Trumpet reports on China’s rise. We follow this trend because of what will happen after the siege. All of these major events prophesied in the Bible are part of a series of events that lead right up to the return of Jesus Christ.
So when the Trumpet reports on these disturbing trends, it’s with the anticipation and hope of what they ultimately lead to: a better world, led by the only government capable of bringing peace.
To understand more about China’s role in end-time Bible prophecy, read our article “Why the Trumpet Watches the Rise of China As a Superpower.”