In A First, China To Slash Military Force By Over 50 Percent

China dispatches troops to set up military base in Djibouti

As India, US and Japan are carrying out three-nation five-day Malabar Naval Exercise, China on Tuesday sent ships carrying personnel for setting up its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

According to Reuters, China had started the construction of the base in Djibouti past year.

The West is concerned that closer ties between Djibouti and China may prompt the African country to impose restrictions on U.S. access to the Camp Lemonnier base, which the United States uses to collect intelligence on terrorist groups in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said the base will be "used for the better fulfilment of the national obligation of China and for the escort mission and humanitarian aid".

The People's Liberation Army personnel are to "set up a support base in Djibouti", according to the report.

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 global obligations.

China says it will use its Djibouti base for missions such as peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia as well as joint military exercises and maintaining the security of global strategic waterways.

Beijing also says it will use the base to facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises, as Chinese navy and other services seek to expand their worldwide presence in line with the country's growing economic and political influence.

Djibouti, a small country in the Horn of Africa, is favoured for its location as it is located at the southern entrance of the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

China would not seek military expansionism or get into arms races no matter what happened, it said.

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The state-run Global Times said in an editorial that 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.

This new military base is essentially China serving its own interests to try and protect itself as well as assert its dominance geopolitically. It has borders with Eritrea to the north, with Ethiopia to the west and south, and it has Somalia to the southeast.

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