China establishes first overseas military base in Djibouti
Djibouti offers strategic access to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most import shipping routes in the world, with millions of barrels of oil and petroleum products pass through the strait on a daily basis.
ZHANJIANG, GUANGDONG — China has deployed troops and warships to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to set up the country’s first overseas military base, but the country claims it was not seeking military expansionism.
According to Chinese media, China deployed the Type 071 amphibious transport dock and the H1183 semi-submersible cargo ship, which can accommodate a variety of helicopters and armored fighting vehicles, along with an undisclosed number of military personnel.
The two warships departed from a military port in Zhanjiang on Tuesday and is sailing across the Indian Ocean to Djibouti. China will join the U.S., France, Italy and Japan, which have already set up military bases in Djibouti.
State-run Xinhua News agency citing the PLA navy, said the establishment of the Djibouti base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations and it was the common interest of the people from both sides. An editorial published by state-run Global Times said China is “not about seeking to control the world”.
Djibouti offers strategic access to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most import shipping routes in the world, with millions of barrels of oil and petroleum products pass through the strait on a daily basis.
China has expanded its military presence in Africa, with more than 2,500 Chinese soldiers already deployed in South Sudan, Liberia and Mali and Chinese navy has been conducting escorting missions in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia since 2008.
China has also invested heavily in infrastructure projects in Africa in recent years. It is estimated that one million Chinese nationals currently reside in Africa.
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