Chinese military personnel are en route to the tiny East African nation of Djibouti to establish Beijing's first overseas military base as part of the communist country's attempt to broaden the role of its armed forces.
Chinese troops have departed for Africa to establish a military base for logistical support in Djibouti, the first such Chinese facility to be set up outside its borders, a local media report said on Wednesday.
"The base will ensure China's performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia", it said.
It went on to state that China's military development is about protecting its own security, not about seeking to control the world.. This forms part of China's strategic intentions, Naidu says, with the country wanting to become more embedded in these regions.
China began construction on the military base past year which they say aims to supply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia. 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. Located on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean, it is also strategically important for India.
"So we see a number of uncharacteristic moves by China in the last few years - first, dispatching a battalion of peacekeepers to a conflict in South Sudan".
"China's defence policy is defensive in nature". In fact, it has been Djibouti's lone long-term strategic partner.
Touted by military experts as one of the most strategically important U.S. military bases overseas, Camp Lemonnier has been dramatically expanded since it was built in 2001. In addition, the USA operates an airfield in Djibouti from which the Pentagon launches drone strikes in the region. Previous reports said construction began past year. "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. "It's logical that it needs an actual base somewhere in Africa, which is really no different from the Americans saying that they need Camp Lemonnier as a headquarters for operations in Africa, whether in peacekeeping or counterterror or whatever", Paice said on The Cipher Brief website.