China has formally opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti with a flag raising ceremony and military parade.
More than 300 people attended Tuesday’s ceremony, including deputy Chinese naval commander Tian Zhong and Djibouti’s defence minister, according to state media.
The event was timed to coincide with the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the establishment of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, on August 1.
China began constructing a base in Djibouti last year. It will be used to resupply navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious military modernization programme, including developing capabilities for China’s forces to operate far from home.
Djibouti is a tiny barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. It is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.
China’s agreement with Djibouti ensures its military presence in the country up until 2026, with a contingent of up to 10,000 soldiers.
he base will enable China to better support its patrols in waters off Somalia and Yemen and carried out its international humanitarian obligations, the report said.
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.