Djibouti gives PLA first foreign base

China | Jul 13, 2017
China has sent members of the People's Liberation Army to the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti to man its first overseas military base, a key part of expanding the role of the armed forces.

The defense ministry said a ceremony was held at a naval pier in the southern port of Zhanjiang presided over by navy commander Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong.

It said the personnel would travel by navy ship but gave no details on numbers or units. Photos on the website showed naval officers and marines in battle dress lining the rails of the support ships Jingangshan and Donghaidao.

China says the logistics center will support anti-piracy, United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions in Africa and western Asia. It says it will also facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises as the PLA navy and other services seek to expand their global reach in step with China's growing economic and political footprint.

Djibouti is already home to the center of American operations in Africa, Camp Lemonnier, while France, Britain, Japan and other nations also maintain a military presence in the small but strategically located nation.

Multinational anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden that China joined in 2008 have also given its navy ready access to the Mediterranean, and, in 2011, it sent a warship to help in the evacuation of 35,000 Chinese citizens from Libya.


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June 2018