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China To Open First Overseas Military Base In Djibouti

14 July 2017

At a time when India is facing border security issues from China with the India-China-Sikkim standoff, China's move to send troops from People's Liberation Army (PLA) to establish their first overseas military base in Djibouti has sent down concerns in India as well as in the United States.

Meanwhile, an editorial in the state-run Global Times seemed to refer to the facility as a proper base, rather than a logistics facility.

The base will support the Chinese military's naval escort, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in Africa and western Asia, the news release said. Situated on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, gateway to one of the world's busiest trade route Suez Canal, Djibouti provides an essential port for its landlocked neighbour Ethiopia. It also raises the possibility of "forward deployment" at India's doorstep - at Pakistan's Gwadar port, where the deployment now is intended only to "protect" Chinese workers at the facility.

The support base could also drive local economic and social development and will be beneficial for China to make more contributions to safeguarding peace and stability in Africa and the world, Geng said.

Djibouti's proximity to edgy regions in the Middle East and Africa makes it strategically important for military superpowers to set up their bases here.

"Firstly, it is indeed the People's Liberation Army's first overseas base; China will station troops there, and it is not a commercial resupply point", the paper writes.

In the neighboring Somalia fighting did not stop for many years, and Yemen, which is located approximately 20 miles from Djibouti, is now also in a state of conflict.

The decision to build the base in Djibouti came after “friendly negotiations” between the two nations, according to the PLA Navy, as cited by Xinhua.

With Chinese banks being the major funders of at least 14 projects in the tiny nations, valued at about $14.4 billion, US officials wonder about the long-term durability of the US-Djibouti alliance.

The US Department of Defense had said in a report that the base, along with regular naval vessel visits to foreign ports, reflects and amplifies China's growing influence. The Chinese may maintain about 10,000 troops and two warships at this base. Not officially confirmed information that the Chinese database can be opened in the small port town of Obock in Djibouti, where a small military targets Americans. China also continues to assert vast territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea. In 2015, Beijing embarked on its first overseas peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

In a separate report, CNN noted that China has expanded its military ties across Africa in recent years. Beijing is investing in the construction of Railways connecting the African country, including the road between Djibouti and the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, as well as Railways in Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.

China To Open First Overseas Military Base In Djibouti