China to Start Its First Naval Base in Africa

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 24, 2015

China Navy Archives: Djibouti navy soldiers salute in front of China's hospital ship Peace Ark at the port of Djibouti, Sept. 29, 2010.

China Navy Archives: Djibouti navy soldiers salute in front of China's hospital ship Peace Ark at the port of Djibouti, Sept. 29, 2010.

 China is going to build a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa. With the establishment of a base in Djibouti, China joins the global contest for maritime and commercial supremacy, reports Al Jazeera‎.

 
China has long had an economic foothold in Africa, but the base would be an expansion of its military prowess beyond the Asia-Pacific region.
 
The agreement opens the door to the creation of a permanent Chinese military presence on the African continent - at a key geopolitical address bordering the Bab el-Mandeb Strait guarding the approaches to Suez along the Arabian peninsula and the interior of East Africa.
 
 "In accordance with relevant UN resolutions," explained Hong Lei, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry: "China has deployed more than 60 vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast in 21 [anti-piracy] escort missions since 2008. In the process of escorting, we encountered real difficulties in replenishing soldiers and resupplying fuel and food, and found it really necessary to have nearby and efficient logistical support."
 
Notwithstanding such benign explanations, China's establishment of a permanent facility in this region marks a critical step in the maritime expansion and strategic creation of a Chinese "blue water" navy capable of operating globally. 
 
"[China is] going to build a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa," explained David Rodriguez, the commander of US Africa Command.
 
Djibouti is a small country in East Africa, across from Yemen and on the Gulf of Aden, with a population of just under 830,000. The vast majority of the population is Muslim; about 6 percent are Christian. 
 
The new Chinese base would be a logistics hub, Rodriguez said, the Hill reported. It would also allow China to improve its ability to gather intelligence in the region and beyond, such as parts of the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula as and Central Africa. 
 
Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2019 - Great Ships of 2019

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

Subscribe
Maritime Reporter E-News subscription

Maritime Reporter E-News is the maritime industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email three times per week

Subscribe for Maritime Reporter E-News