Beijing Explains Why China Needs its First Overseas Military Base

Beijing Explains Why China Needs its First Overseas Military Base

Beijing Explains Why China Needs its First Overseas Military Base

"The completion and operation of the base will help China better fulfill its worldwide obligations in conducting escorting missions and humanitarian assistance ..."

Xinhua said the base would facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises, part of China's efforts to "jointly safeguard the safety of global strategic channels with relevant parties".

China's deal with Djibouti allows the presence of up to 10,000 soldiers in the country until 2026. China alone has put $14 billion into projects in Djibouti since 2015.

Officially described as a logistics facility, the naval base will be used for China's performance of missions, such as escorting, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia, Xinhua said.

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Multinational anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden have also given its navy and access to Mediterranean in 2008. "They support multiple U.S. combat command", declared an unnamed senior defense official, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported during American Defense Secretary James Mattis' visit to the strategically important country of Djibouti earlier this year. It's not a business resupply point.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced the official opening of a naval logistics center of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa.

Beijing called the Department of Defense report "irresponsible".

Djibouti, which is about the size of Wales, is located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

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"This particular piece of geography is very, very important to our strategic interests", U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said during a visit to the camp earlier this year, according to CNN. While other countries have been willing to pay for basing rights, China has invested across multiple sectors of the Djiboutian economy, including in rail and port infrastructure, banks, industrial parks and more. The lease runs for a decade with China paying US$20 million a year.

The United States also has a permanent military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemonnier, a 100-acre base that houses some 4,000 USA troops, CNN reported.

But American military leaders have said they don't see it as a threat that will interfere with USA operations there.

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