China establishes its first overseas military base


In February, 2016, China announced it was building a logistical facility in Djibouti.

Chinese Navy commander Shen Jinlong "read an order on constructing the base in Djibouti", but he did not say when the base would begin operations, reported Reuters.

The base is generally meant to "assist China's contribution to peace and stability both in Africa and worldwide", according to the Xinhua News Agency.

China says the new base will ensure its performance of missions and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia
China says the new base will ensure its performance of missions and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia

As it continues efforts to exert influence abroad, China has begun sending troops to its first overseas military base in the tiny east African country of Djibouti - a move which could see it outflank the the region.

The People's Liberation Army Daily said in a front-page commentary that the facility was a landmark that would increase China's ability to ensure global peace, especially because it had so many United Nations peacekeepers in Africa and was so involved in anti-piracy patrols.

Referring to the facility as a “support base, ” the Chinese media outlet said its objective will be to ensure China's successful performance of missions in the region, including peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and western Asia.

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China has expanded its military ties across Africa in recent years. The daily further said China would not seek military expansionism or get into arms races no matter what happened.

The state-run Global Times said in a publication on Wednesday there could be no slip-up this was, truth be told, an army installation. "It's not a commercial resupply point", the Global Times said in an editorial.

“Certainly this is the People's Liberation Army's first overseas base and we will base troops there.

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

It said: "The old military structure, where the army accounts for the vast majority, will be replaced after the reform".

Edward Paice, director of the London-based Africa Research Institute, said a base in Djibouti makes a lot of sense for China, just as it does for Japan or the US. The modest, fruitless country sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia likewise have US, Japanese and French bases. While other countries have been willing to pay for basing rights, China has invested across multiple sectors of the Djiboutian economy, including in rail and port infrastructure, banks, industrial parks and more.

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