Up to date: January 25, 2022 7:03 PM IST
Tirana [Albania]January 25 (ANI): The United States has increased its strategic presence in Albania to meet Beijing’s growing footprint in the Balkans.
The greater US engagement with the small Balkan nation highlights the emergence of yet another potential collision between China’s geoeconomic ambitions in the region and the growing, if delayed, Western effort to push back, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
While most Balkan countries have been hungry recipients of Chinese money, Albania has been an outlier, choosing to engage selectively with Beijing.
While there are around 120 Chinese-affiliated projects worth almost $ 32 billion in the Balkans – the majority of which are in the infrastructure and energy sectors – Albania has largely failed to accumulate huge Chinese debt in return for development and has instead opted for acquisitions. , which does not threaten to exploit the country’s future, writes Amanda Coakley for Foreign Policy.
Washington’s renewed interest in Albania began in 2020, when the country joined the Clean Network initiative, a Trump administration program that sought to challenge the dominance of Chinese companies in 4G and 5G mobile technology. Albania was the first country in the region to join and has used its participation to turn to Washington, which has been pleased with the support in the region, as analyzed by Foreign Policy magazine.
Further, The United States European Command on 8 January said it was establishing a special operations headquarters in Albania as part of an effort to increase capacity as a cornerstone of regional stability.
Earlier, EUCOM also said the base offers increased interoperability with US Albanian allies and important access to transport hubs in the Balkans. (ANI)