China is set to establish its first foreign military outpost-a naval base in Djibouti, that country’s President Ismail Guelleh told newsmen in Addis Abba.
Strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal, Djibouti is already home to U.S. and French bases, while other navies often use its port.
“The Chinese government has decided to move to this area.
“They have the right to defend their interests, just like everybody else does.” Guelleh said.
For Djibouti, among Africa’s poorest nations, it adds to its credentials as a global player in shipping as it targets investment of $12.4 billion to create a commercial hub for Africa.
“We want to follow the path of Singapore,” Guelleh said.
While for China, the base reflects the increasing reach of its navy, which has conducted anti-piracy operations in the region, and a greater readiness to respond to threats abroad.
The president, however, did not say when the work would begin or how many personnel would be stationed there.
“They are now studying and they will, I guess, start soon,” the President added.
In the same development, Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahamoud Youssouf said that “we understand that some western countries have worries on the Chinese willingness to have military outposts out of China”.