I recently returned from Walvis Bay, Namibia, the country’s sole deep water port and former South Atlantic home to the Royal and South African Navies. Also in port were two of the three ships of the Royal Navy’s Atlantic Patrol Tasking South. A Daring-class Type 45 air warfare destroyer and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary small fleet tanker were both pier side. (The task force’s third ship, HMS Clyde, was presumably on station patrolling the Falklands.) While Walvis Bay enjoys a 138-year history with the Royal Navy, it could soon be home to a powerful Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy surface squadron.
In Jan. 2015, The Namibian reported the existence of a “confidential letter from Namibia’s ambassador to China, Ringo Abed, to Namibia’s foreign minister stat[ing] that ‘a [Chinese] delegation will visit Namibia … for discussions … on the way forward regarding plans for the proposed naval base in Walvis Bay’.” According to the letter, a Chinese delegation, including technical staff and naval architects, will meet with Namibian officials sometime after March 21, 2015 to discuss a field feasibility study for the base.
At this point I wouldn’t be surprised to read that China had taken up a 99-year lease on New Orleans.