Thursday, August 3, 2017

China just opened its first overseas military base in Africa and not everyone is excited about it

China has officially opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa.
In a flag raising ceremony on August 1, Chinese officials unveiled the base that Beijing insist will be a logisitics facility and not a military foothold.

“The Djibouti base has nothing to do with an arms race or military expansion, and China has no intention of turning the logistics center into a military foothold,” the state-run news agency Xinhua said.

China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to re-supply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
The fact that China’s first overseas base is in Africa reflects Chinese’s expanding engagement with the continent where several of China’s first major moves as a global power have taken place.
Even then, India remains worried over Djibouti's position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean in the sense that it would become another of China's "string of pearls" military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Djibouti, which is about the size of Wales, is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts U.S., Japanese and French bases.