China sets up base in Djibouti

Nettie James
July 13, 2017

Chinese troops have departed for Africa to establish a military base for logistical support in Djibouti, the first such Chinese facility to be set up outside its borders, a local media report said on Wednesday.

A Chinese state news agency reported the base is going to improve China's performance in peacekeeping and humanitarian aid missions in Africa and west Asia.

Meanwhile, the Chinese media has in the last few days said that China is more powerful than India in economic as well as military terms. "This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot", according to CNN.

In any case, China's military advancement was tied in with ensuring its own particular security, it said.

China has deployed vessels to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast on escort missions since 2008.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that "The completion and operation of the base will help China better fulfill its global obligations in conducting escorting missions and humanitarian assistance".

Djibouti's position on the edge of the Indian Ocean has sparked concerns in India about the influence of military in the area. To that end, over the past two years, China has cut down its defence spending with the military budget in 2017 standing at 7 percent, the lowest hike in more than 10 years. Djibouti might appear to be an unassuming African state, but its location makes it strategic for military superpowers.

It also hosts the US, Japanese and French military bases.

"So China's naval base, while serving China's purposes first, is also part of that message to Africa, saying, 'We're here for the long-term'".

Elsewhere in Djibouti, the United States military operates the Chabelley Airfield, from which the Pentagon stages drone airstrikes, likely into Somalia and across the Bab el-Mandeb Strait into Yemen, according to the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in NY.

But American military leaders have said they don't see it as a threat that will interfere with USA operations there.

It is unclear when operations will begin at the base, but China is joining the U.S., France, and Japan, in keeping a military presence in the strategically important nation.

Other reports by Insurance News

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