A senior Chinese military official toured a Chinese warship docked in Djibouti during the weekend and met with the country’s president, according to China’s defense ministry, underscoring Beijing’s efforts to expand its military operations in Africa.

Djibouti, an East African country located near vital shipping lanes and terrorism hotspots in Yemen and Somalia, also hosts military bases for the United States and France.

Some security analysts have raised concerns that China, which is reported to be in talks about constructing a base in Djibouti, could be seeking to exert more influence in the strategic country—a move that could disrupt U.S. counterterrorism operations.

Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, inspected the guided-missile frigate Sanya on Sunday after it completed anti-piracy operations, the ministry said. Fang sat down with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Saturday.

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