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Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

China sends military personnel to base in Djibouti

China sends military personnel to base in Djibouti

The report acknowledged that a greater overseas naval logistics and basing footprint would enable China to expand its humanitarian, search and rescue and non-combatant evacuation operations.

In recent years, China has increased its investment in Africa and modernized its armed forces.

In a recent annual report to Congress on China's military power, the Pentagon noted that China "claims" the base in Djibouti is created to help its navy carry out peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The second overseas military base of China will be set up in Gwadar, Pakistan.

The Bab el-Mandeb strait, a narrow waterway between Yemen and Djibouti, controls access from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, as well as southern Israel and Jordan.

"We will base troops there", it said.

In another development, China recently slammed the notion it was responsible for reigning in North Korea, what it styled as the "China responsibility theory".

Two Chinese warships departed from Zhanjiang in south China's Guangdong province on Tuesday, heading for the new support base in the small, the strategically-located Horn of Africa country.

While the PLA Navy said that the decision to make a base was a decision made between the two countries after friendly negotiation, India and United States have been much concerned with the set up by China since the country plans to take over the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.

The report also said the troops are to assist with "escorting, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia", and the base would serve as a site of future joint exercises.

But Djibouti's position on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worries in India.

The representative of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of China Geng Shuang at the daily briefing said that the base in Djibouti will allow China to "contribute" to the maintenance of peace in Africa and beyond, and will contribute to economic development in Djibouti, the economy of which is operation of the port.

In November, Yang Yujun, another spokesman for the ministry, said China plans to use the base to better implement its global obligations and to protect the nation's overseas interests but not to seek "military expansion".

"These promises will not change because of the construction of the overseas logistics base", it said.

"The Global Times", a newspaper which often takes a nationalist tone, said that the new facility was indeed a military base.

The "People's Liberation Army Daily" said in a front-page commentary that the new base would help China to fulfil its obligations in ensuring global peace, working with its huge United Nations peacekeeping force in Africa and its anti-piracy patrols. It's not a commercial resupply point. "It makes sense there is attention on this from foreign public opinion", said the paper, which is published by the official People's Daily. The Chinese defence ministry however, rejected the assessment, saying "China is not doing any military expansion and does not seek a sphere of influence". Beijing is also building ports and other infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Africa in turn supplies China with natural resources, minerals and energy. In 2015, Beijing embarked on its first overseas peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

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