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22 September 2017

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07/13/2017 CHINA

China: Djibouti home to Beijing’s first foreign military base

The main role of the base is to support the Chinese warships used in the region in anti-piracy operations. Even the United States, France and Japan have permanent military bases in Djibouti. The former French colony is strategically located, offering access to the strait of Bab el-Mandeb connecting the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has dispatched troops to Djibouti, thus establishing its first foreign military base. Yesterday, two Chinese warships left Zhanjiang Harbor to cross the Indian Ocean and transport the soldiers to be stationed. Today, an editorial on the Global Times newspaper emphasizes the strategic importance of the new Djibouti military base in the Horn of Africa. The same daily says that the main role of the base is to support the Chinese warships used in the region in anti-piracy and humanitarian operations.

Chinese troops have already marched in parade on Djibouti's Independence Day on June 27th to celebrate the anniversary for 40 years since the end of French rule in the Horn of Africa (pictured).

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Geng Shuang described the inauguration of the base as part of ongoing efforts to help peace and security in the African region. "Chinese naval forces are present in the waters off Somalia, in the Gulf of Aden to conduct security and escort missions for merchant ships since 2008," said Geng. "The military base will help China to better fulfill its international obligations in conducting accompanying missions and humanitarian assistance and will also help promote economic and social development in Djibouti."

China has expanded its military ties throughout Africa in recent years. According to a report by the European Council on Foreign Relations (Ecfr), cooperation with Africa on peace and security is now an "explicit part of Beijing's foreign policy". More than 2,500 Chinese soldiers and police officers are already employed as UN blue berets throughout the African continent, with the highest attendance in South Sudan (1,051), Liberia (666) and Mali (402).

Even the United States, France and Japan have permanent military bases in Djibouti. The former French colony with a population of less than a million inhabitants is strategically located, offering access to the strait of Bab el-Mandeb connecting the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and all 'Indian Ocean. One of the world's most important shipping lanes for oil.






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