Both China and the Republic of Uganda are rejecting the claim that China could take possession of Entebbe International Airport, if the east African country fails to pay back a $200 million loan to expand the facility. A spokesperson for the Ugandan government says the claim is "not true." Likewise, the Chinese embassy rejects the claim, calling it a "malicious allegation."
But according to reports, one of the conditions of the loan included the potential forfeit of the country's only international airport if Uganda were to default on the loan. China refused earlier this year to re-negotiate the 2015 loan, according to local media reports.
China a 'benefactor'? No way …
Global security expert Benjamin Varlese tells American Family News it's not uncommon for countries in Africa to be offered loans from China to develop their infrastructure. In fact, loan amounts from Beijing to Africa exceed $140 billion – and regarding Uganda, China is "more than willing" to invest in one of the most impoverished countries in the world, he adds.
Varlese considers most of Africa vulnerable and receptive to the Chinese regime because of the continent's ongoing economic insecurity – and he is far from surprised China is denying "any kind of malfeasance" surrounding the allegations of a "power grab" of the African airport.
According to Varlese, "soft power takeovers" are an integral part to the Chinese regime's long game.
"They are simply using economic power as opposed to military power [to maintain] a benefactor appearance," he explains – adding that should China take control of the airport, it will clearly demonstrate "an economic, soft power takeover."
China, he predicts, will gain "the upper hand" with each loan Africa fails to pay pack. "[It's a way to] muscle their way into Africa [and] diminish Western influence in the area," Varlese argues.
The global security expert also cautions about trusting Beijing's rhetoric when it claims it has no plans to seize control of Entebbe International.
"Look at how [the regime] responded to the negative reporting over the origins of the coronavirus; they were blaming everyone but themselves for the coronavirus," he points out. "Some of the messaging was just plain ridiculous. So, the Chinese word for any of it cannot be taken too seriously."
Whatever information China releases to the world, he warns, "shouldn't ever be taken at face value."