China Sends Troops to Djibouti Ahead of Formally Establishing First Overseas Military Base

A People’s Liberation Army training drill near Beijing last year. China said on Thursday that it would build a logistics facility in Djibouti, in a sign of the growing reach of its navy.
Andy Wong/Associated Press

China has dispatched troops to Djibouti in advance of formally establishing the country’s first overseas military base.

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.

An editorial Wednesday in the state-run Global Times stressed the importance of the new Djibouti facility — in the strategically located Horn of Africa — to the Chinese military.

“Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point… This base can support Chinese Navy to go farther, so it means a lot,” said the paper.

The Global Times said the main role of the base would be to support Chinese warships operating in the region in anti-piracy and humanitarian operations.

“It’s not about seeking to control the world,” said the editorial.

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SOURCE: CNN, Brad Lendon and Steve George