China sets up naval base in Djibouti as India play war games
00:26, Jul 13, 2017
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The Chinese government signed a 10 year agreement with their Djibouti counterpart in 2015 to start work on the military base in the African state.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that the establishment of the base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations and will be conducive to China's performance of worldwide obligations.
Beijing officially describing the base as a logistics facility.
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. Djibouti, which is about the span of Wales, is situated at the southern access to the Red Sea on the course to the Suez Canal.
Located on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean, Djibouti sits well in China's move to encircle India with military alliances and assets, including the "string of pearls" assets in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts US, Japanese and French bases.
According to Chinese State media, the base will be used for peace keeping missions and humanitarian aid in the area, but also may be used for military tasks overseas and securing strategic seaways.
It added that China will under no circumstances be seeking military expansionism or become involve in arms races.
However in an editorial Wednesday, the state-run Global Times said: "There could be no mistake that this was in fact a military base".
For now, Djibouti will provide a more comprehensive resupply point for the constant stream of warships traveling back and forth from China.
"Certainly this is the People's Liberation Army's first overseas base and we will base troops there". "Foreign public opinion focuses on the base for good reason; this base will support China's navy to go farther afield, and it is of great significance".
But the "essential objective of China's development of its military might is to protect "China's safety", and is not about seeking to control the world", it said. 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.
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