China’s overseas military expansion was the focus of a July Pentagon report,which said that Beijing may soon seek to establish a network of similar facilities around the world.
China first started constructing the Djibouti base in early 2015. Located near one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the move would allow China to contribute to regional peace and stability, and extend its efforts to combat Somali pirates.
According to the Pentagon report, the Djibouti base, “along with regular naval vessel visits to foreign ports, both reflects and amplifies China’s growing influence, extending the reach of its armed forces,” and it may be the first of many such overseas bases.
Images of tanks firing live rounds and soldiers engaging in target practice in the deserts of Djibouti, east Africa played on Chinese state television Friday. The soldiers were from China’s only overseas military base, which was completed in the country only months ago.
This photo taken on August 1, 2017 shows Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
In Pakistan, China is investing heavily in the port of Gwadar, and building a network of roads and power plants as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. According to experts, China may also be seeking to place a military presence in Chinese-run ports in other Indian Ocean nations, including Myanamar and Sri Lanka.
“For now China’s ambitions remain regional, but it is becoming clear China has broader global aspirations, and while they are still in the early stages, they beginning to take shape.”