Djibouti President: China Negotiating Horn of Africa Military Base

BLACKEAGLE

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(Photo: Carl De Souza/AFP)

DJIBOUTI — China is negotiating a military base in the strategic port of Djibouti, the president told AFP, raising the prospect of US and Chinese bases side-by-side in the tiny Horn of Africa nation.

"Discussions are ongoing," President Ismail Omar Guelleh told AFP in an interview in Djibouti, saying Beijing's presence would be "welcome."

Djibouti is already home to Camp Lemonnier, the US military headquarters on the continent, used for covert, anti-terror and other operations in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere across Africa.

France and Japan also have bases in the port, a former French colony that guards the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, and which has been used by European and other international navies as a base in the fight against piracy from neighboring Somalia.

China is already financing several major infrastructure projects estimated to total more than $9 billion (8 billion euros), including improved ports, airports and railway lines to landlocked Ethiopia, for whom Djibouti is a lifeline port.

"France's presence is old, and the Americans found that the position of Djibouti could help in the fight against terrorism in the region," Guelleh said.

"The Japanese want to protect themselves from piracy — and now the Chinese also want to protect their interests, and they are welcome," he said.

Djibouti overseas the narrow Bab al-Mandeb straits, the channel separating Africa from Arabia and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, leading into the Red Sea and northwards to the Mediterranean.

Djibouti and Beijing signed a military agreement allowing the Chinese navy to use Djibouti port in February 2014, a move that angered Washington.

China aims to install a permanent military base in Obock, Djibouti's northern port city.

In recent years, Guelleh has increasingly turned to China as a key economic partner. Last year he switched the port operating contract to a Chinese company, after the previous Dubai-based operator was accused of corruption.
Djibouti President: China Negotiating Horn of Africa Military Base
 
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I was wondering if China would attempt to get overseas bases. This horn is of vital importance to shipping and also is a good place to have a Naval/Airbase for resupply. This should make it interesting, since the US and Chinese bases will be next door to each other I can imagine a lot of bar fights between American and Chinese soldiers.
 

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China obviously has learned that as an emerging super power to avoid appearing weak, they must get a little more involved in trying to keep the world safe from terrorists. To be able to do that, they need military bases in all the right places and Djibouti being close to Somalia and the ME, is perfect for them.

But I also think they have ulterior motives. China has invested heavily in South Sudan and a number of other African countries. Having a military base close by means that protecting their interests will be a lot easier.
 
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