China is Setting up its First Overseas Military Base in Djibouti

China is Setting up its First Overseas Military Base in Djibouti

China is Setting up its First Overseas Military Base in Djibouti

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 in the Horn of Africa, Efe news reported.

China previously stated that the logistics center will further support anti-piracy, United Nations peacekeeping and several humanitarian relief missions in western Asia and Africa.

According to the report, as the number of troops in PLA Army is decreased, the number of troops in the PLA Navy, PLA Strategic Support Force, and the PLA Rocket Force will be increased.

This new military base is essentially China serving its own interests to try and protect itself as well as assert its dominance geopolitically. 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 began construction of a logistics base in strategically located Djibouti a year ago, purportedly to base resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia.

"It also stimulates the social and economic development of Djibouti".

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

Though small in both population and size, Djibouti's position on the tip of the Horn of Africa offers strategic access to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Djibouti might appear to be an unassuming African state, but its location makes it strategic for military superpowers.

The People's Daily cites an article published by the PLA announcing that "the old military structure, where the army accounts for the vast majority, will be replaced after the reform". "It bodes well there is consideration on this from outside general sentiment", said the paper, which is distributed by the official People's Daily, said.

In April, US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Djibouti, which houses Camp Lemonnier, the largest known US military base in the African continent.

It is unclear when operations will begin at the base, but China is joining the U.S., France, and Japan, in keeping a military presence in the strategically important nation.

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