China to Establish a Military Presence in the Vital African Entrepot

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Last weekend, a top Chinese military officer visited Djibouti. Experts beleive Beijing is planning to establish a base in the strategically vital African entrepot.

China to Establish a Military Presence in the Vital African Entrepot

The chief of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general staff, Gen. Fang Fenghui met Djibouti’s president last weekend. Fang said President Ismail Omar Guelleh that China was willing to “deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two countries and two militaries”.

Djibouti is a former French colony. It guards the entrance to the Red Sea and, ultimately, the Suez Canal. Djibouti has been already used by international navies — including China — as a base in the fight against piracy from Somalia.

In May, Guelleh said that Beijing’s presence – including military – would be “welcome” in his country.

Conteporary, China does not have any overseas military bases. But Chinese contracts to build or manage Indian Ocean ports have raised suggestions that it is seeking to establish a so-called “string of pearls” in the region.

The Fang’s visit could be described as a step to establish a Chinese military base in Djibouti .

The String of Pearls theory is a geopolitical theory regarding potential Chinese intentions in the Indian Ocean region. It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationships along its sea lines of communication, which extend from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan. The sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the Strait of Mandeb, the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz and the Lombok Strait, as well as other strategic maritime centers in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Somalia.

Learn more about the topic by watching:

Foreign Policy Diary – The US-China Standoff in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region

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