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U.S. Defense Secretary Makes First Visit to Africa With an Eye on Countering Chinese Influence on the Continent

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper gives a speech while visiting the North Africa American Cemetery which houses the remains of US soldiers who died during the World War II North African campaign, close to the ruins of ancient Carthage northeast of Tunisia's capital Tunis on September 30, 2020. FETHI BELAID / AFP

United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is in Africa this week, his first visit to the continent as defense chief, in a trip that’s aimed in part to push back against increased Chinese and Russian military influence in the region.

Secretary Esper arrived in Tunisia on Wednesday where he met with President Kais Saied and visited a World War II cemetery to honor US service members. There he delivered a speech that included warnings about Washington’s rivals in Moscow and Beijing.

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