China ships troops to its first overseas base in Africa

Audrey Hill
July 13, 2017

Chinese troops have been dispatched to the country's first overseas military base as Beijing beefs up its global presence.

It is still unclear how many troops or ships left the Zhanjiang port in southern China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday, 11 July.

On Tuesday, China's People's Liberation Army Daily said the Djibouti facility was a landmark that would increase China's ability to ensure global peace, especially because the country has so many United Nations peacekeepers in Africa and was also involved in anti-piracy patrols.

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", said the paper. This forms part of China's strategic intentions, Naidu says, with the country wanting to become more embedded in these regions.

In a bid to win influence over the government and its people in recent years, both China and Saudi Arabia have poured vast amounts of money into the country to support infrastructure projects, education, and training programs.

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China began construction on the military base previous year which they say aims to supply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia. He also stressed that Beijing was committed to peaceful development, adding that China's defense policy remained to be defensive in nature.

In 2015, China also detached three navy ships from the said anti-piracy patrols in order to rescue Chinese citizens and other foreigners from fighting in Yemen. "In the past, the PLA focused on ground battle and homeland defence, which will undergo fundamental changes", said the article widely shared on China's social media. Djibouti might appear to be an unassuming African state, but its location makes it strategic for military superpowers.

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

China officially describes Djibouti, its first overseas naval base, as a logistics facility.

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".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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