By Michael Hernandez
The Trump administration rolled out Thursday its new Africa strategy, taking
National Security Advisor John Bolton made specific mention of the countries during the announcement saying they "are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa".
"They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States," Bolton said at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.
The announcement comes nearly mid-way through U.S. President Donald Trump's first and possibly only four-year term.
Bolton said China in particular "uses bribes, opaque agreements and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands."
Bolton, who is one of Trump's most influential advisors, made specific mention of China's opening of a military base in Djibouti, which he said threatens a strategic shift in the pivotal Red Sea region.
China opened the base in the Horn of Africa in
The U.S. alleges at least two pilots have needed medical treatment after being struck by the lasers.
And of Russia, Bolton said the country is also "seeking to increase its influence in the region through corrupt economic dealings."
"It continues to sell arms and energy in exchange for votes at the United Nations, votes that keep strongmen in power, undermine peace and security, and run counter to the best interests of the African people."
Trump has yet to visit Africa, and there are no known plans for him to do so yet.
First lady Melania Trump visited the continent earlier this year.