China has started construction on a naval logistics base in Djibouti, Reuters reports, citing a spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Defense.
Some 4,800 miles away from Beijing, China’s new naval base in Djibouti, a tiny African nation of less than 1 million people, sits on a strategic position on the Horn of Africa along key global shipping routes where the mouth of the Red Sea meets the vast Indian Ocean.
This new base, which China describes as naval “support facilities”, will be China’s first overseas military outpost, giving Beijing access to the Arabian Peninsula and positioning its forces near its investments in sub-Saharan Africa.
China had conducted anti-piracy operations in the region in recent years and is seeking to expand its capacity to respond to growing threats to its interests abroad, Reuters reports.
China’s new base will be used “primarily for military rest and resupply in carrying out naval escort, peacekeeping, and humanitarian duties,” Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.
“Currently, initial construction on the relevant facilities has already started and China has already dispatched some personnel to launch relevant work,” Wu said.
Establishing resupply and logistics points abroad is a vital component of China’s push to expand its global reach, as Stratfor Global Intelligence explains.