U.S. says Chinese lasers injure military pilots in Djibouti

PLA base djibouti

U.S. says Chinese lasers injure military pilots in Djibouti

"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 said.

The pilots suffered minor eye injuries.

"These incidents are not surprising as they represent an act just short of war, but indicate gross, intentional negligence, as well as complete disregard for aviation safety and global norms", Meeks told The Wall Street Journal.

Located at Djibouti global airport, the U.S. military's Camp Lemmonier base is its only permanent facility in Africa.

U.S. pilots have begun wearing eye protection or visors for protection, and are even planning their flights around Chinese military flights, The Journal reported.

"You can remind the relevant United States person to keep in mind the truthfulness of what they say, and to not swiftly speculate or make accusations", she told a daily briefing in Beijing. China recently established a base in Djibouti as well.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says the U.S.is confident that Chinese nationals are responsible for the use of the lasers.

In its response, China did not explain why the USA claims are untrue or directly deny that they have employed lasers in Djibouti, where China recently opened a new logistics and military base.

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The US accused China on Thursday of pointing lasers at US military aircraft near Djibouti multiple times in the last few weeks, but Beijing has denied the allegations.

Representatives of the Ministry of defense has accused China in the direction of a powerful laser at US warplanes flying over Djibouti.

China opened its first ever foreign military base in Djibouti past year, joining the United States and a number of other countries with military installations in the nation, which is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

Despite recent flare-ups, including this past week's events, Meservey voiced optimism that the USA and China can still cooperate in Djibouti, at least on a small scale.

The US and China both have bases in Djibouti, an East African nation on the Gulf of Aden with fewer than one million people.

But in March, Waldhauser warned US lawmakers about a potential Chinese takeover of a key port in Djibouti, which he called a "worst-case scenario".

"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", said Waldhauser, referring to the proximity of the new Chinese base.

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