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US complains to China after laser incidents in Djibouti

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The United States formally complained to China after Chinese nationals pointed lasers at U.S. military aircraft near Djibouti in a number of incidents in recent weeks, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The U.S. military has been grappling with lasers being pointed at aircraft for decades. However, the incidents highlight the concern the United States has about a Chinese military base just miles from a critical U.S. base in Djibouti.

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“They are very serious incidents … We have formally démarched the Chinese government and we’ve requested the Chinese investigate these incidents,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters.

 White said the Pentagon was confident that the lasers had been pointed by Chinese nationals and in the past few weeks fewer than 10 incidents had taken place. The intent was unclear.
 
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that in one incident last month two pilots in a C-130 suffered minor eye injuries.
The official said that in a few instances, military grade lasers from the Chinese base had been pointed at aircraft.

Djibouti is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

 Djibouti hosts a U.S. military base that is home to about 4,000 personnel, including special operations forces, and is a launch pad for operations in Yemen and Somalia.
This year, the U.S. military put countering China, along with Russia, at the center of a new national defense strategy.

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Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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