- US Senate Armed Services Committee was told China’s newly completed naval pier in Djibouti would accommodate an aircraft carrier
- China’s peacekeeping deployments in Africa perceived as possible excuse to build up military bases in Africa, says analyst
But what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its strategic location, overlooking the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a choke point between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
It is that location that has made it a hub for foreign militaries. Before 2017, the United States, France, Japan and Italy had established bases for their armed forces in the country. Then China arrived, setting up what it described as a
.That facility houses between 1,000 and 2,000 Chinese navy personnel, according to various reports.
Analysts say that while the US has always welcomed China’s support for UN peacekeeping operations and anti-piracy efforts in Africa, it is concerned China plans to expand its rights to set up bases, using them to extend its military reach and grow arms sales to African countries.
Luke Patey, a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, said whether in Africa or the Arctic, the US did not want to see a challenger upset its dominant global military presence.
“Chinese participating in peacekeeping missions may not turn too many heads at the Pentagon, but China’s Djibouti base has military capabilities that extend far beyond the logistical needs of any peace or humanitarian mission,” Patey said. read more..