Ships carrying personnel for China’s first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, have set sail to begin setting up the facility, as China’s rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach.
China says the support base will be used for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia.
As per the reports, the main role of the base would be to support Chinese warships operating in the region in anti-piracy and humanitarian operations. It will also be used for military co-operation, naval exercises and rescue missions.
China has ramped up investment in Africa, as well as rapidly modernized its military in recent years.
Two Chinese Navy warships left the port of Zhanjiang on Tuesday, taking an undisclosed number of military personnel on the journey across the Indian Ocean.
In 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping committed 8,000 troops to the UN peacekeeping standby force — one fifth of the 40,000 total troops committed by 50 nations — China also pledged $100 million to the African Union standby force and $1 billion to establish the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund.
China’s involvement in African security is a product of a wider transformation of China’s national defense policy. It is taking on a global outlook and incorporating new concepts such as the protection of overseas interests and open seas protection.
It will be China’s first overseas naval base, though Beijing officially describes it as a logistics facility.