Saturday, 22 July, 2017

China is Setting up its First Overseas Military Base in Djibouti

China Officially Sets Up Its First Overseas Base in Djibouti China dispatches troops to set up military base in Djibouti
Garry Little | 13 July, 2017, 00:24

Ships carrying personnel for China's first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, have set sail to begin setting up the facility, as China's rapidly modernising military extends its global reach.

Two ships carrying soldiers and military equipment left the southern port of Zhanjiang on Tuesday, following a farewell ceremony by the People's Liberation Army for the units in charge of the new base, Efe news reported.

Geng said support base will better serve Chinese troops when they escort ships in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast, perform humanitarian rescue, and carry out other global obligations.

Geng Shuang, the ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, said Chinese officers and men encountered difficulties in replenishing food and fuel, and Djibouti offered logistical support in multiple instances. "This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot", according to CNN.

"The reform is based on China's strategic goals and security requirements". China has been actively participating in anti-piracy measures in the region, with a reported 16,000 sailors and 1,300 marines serving in the Gulf of Aden between 2008 and 2015.

China has expanded its military ties across Africa in recent years.

China began construction on the military base a year ago which they say aims to supply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia.

Mattis also discussed the issue of China's growing influence in Djibouti with officials of the African country. The move is also set to increase the number of personnel in PLA Strategic Support Force and the PLA Rocket Force.

Elsewhere in Djibouti, the USA 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.

China's military base in Djibouti will be established just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, a decision that Washington says would raise "security concerns". It makes sense there is attention on this from foreign public opinion, ” the editorial states.

The United States also has a permanent military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier, a 100-acre base that houses some 4,000 USA troops, CNN reported.

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