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Djibouti, or One to eight hundred. China's first naval base abroad

In the West, no one, especially in the United States, does not pay attention to the fact that around 800 US military bases are thrown over the network to all countries and continents. Only in Germany their 172, in Japan - 113, next door in South Korea - 83 and further on the world - in Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Qatar, Kosovo, Kenya and in 80 countries. But how amicably the main Western media drew attention to the fact that the Chinese warship left the military port of Zhanjiang in Djibouti to equip the first foreign military base of the Celestial Empire.

The British agency Reuters reports that the appearance of the Chinese military base on the Horn of Africa has already worried India, which is afraid of "another pearl necklace of China's military allies, and this is a call for India, as well as for Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka."

The military bases do not appear on the map without the consent of the host party. Between Beijing and Djibouti, a good-neighborly dialogue "for the common interests of the peoples of both sides" has been conducted for the first time in which China agreed to build a naval base to service ships of the navy that are increasingly swamming into the world's oceans. In the language of the protocol, the base will provide the task of escorting, maintaining peace and providing humanitarian assistance in Africa and West Asia.

However, this is not the whole list of tasks that the Chinese naval base in Djibouti will decide. Before it, of course, first of all, the military tasks facing the People's Republic of China, including military cooperation and joint exercises, will be put forward. The base will protect China's interests abroad and support the safety of international strategic shipping.

As the British edition stresses, "this means that China's ability to provide a global peace has increased, especially in Africa, where there are so many UN peacekeepers and anti-piracy patrols." This is, in fact, a curious detail: the redistribution of zones of influence in Africa has spawned a multitude of bloody conflicts, whose acquisitions have traditionally been France, the United Kingdom and the United States. China in Africa is a newcomer. However, in the last ten years, he has already mastered the African market with his cheap goods and services, driving out Great Britain and considerably weakening the position of France. However, the African exports of minerals and other resources of the Black Continent are still receiving the United States.

In recent years, China in the struggle for African resources has overtaken France and is catching up to the US, which is fueling a conflict of interests that will determine the future of the entire African region. It is no accident, as soon as China's presence became apparent in Africa, the US created in 2008 the military command AFRICOM. Having a certain contingent of marines, it was able to solve any problem in any African country. And the main work for AFRICOM was the training of African armies in Ethiopia, Sudan (Darfur), Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Seychelles, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania. From the day of their birth, these armies had to be allied to the United States. Private military companies (PMCs) like Protection Strategies Inc, DynCorp International, AECOM, Pacific Architects and Engineers, whose task is to counter the threat of American interests from radical Islam and, quite understandably, strengthen China's influence in Africa, should be added to this.

Now it's just that Americans from Africa can not pick out, but ...

The examples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria in comparison with the "China's policy in Africa", set forth in the White Paper of the PRC, are too damaging to the leaders of African countries. China does not spare money, promoting its economic interests. He invests not only in the construction of industrial facilities, but also raises the infrastructure of his partners. And while in Beijing they do not ask questions about respect for human rights, democratization, and ecology, they do not use anything from the Western "gentleman's set." There is a view that the "Arab Spring" itself was inspired by the Americans in connection with the growing rivalry with China in the region. Everyone remembers that it was France that was the main propagandist of the military operation against Libya in March of the year 2011 to gain access to the development of Libyan oil and gas fields and freely promote the products of its military-industrial complex to the African market.

But what is the tiny state in 750 thousand people living between the Gulf of Aden and the desert against the backdrop of a global clash of interests between the Middle Kingdom and the West? The answer suggests: on 23 thousand square kilometers of the State of Djibouti there are four - and now five! - military bases. The US base is the largest in Africa, then the bases of Italy, Japan, France and now - China. Djibouti - a port city at the entrance to the Red Sea - is the gateway to the Suez Canal. Through it goes the entire Suez transit and half the export from Ethiopia. In combination with the free economic zone, Djibouti is of great economic interest, but the main thing still remains its ability to receive US Navy warships up to the cruisers, supply them with fuel, fresh water and food.

The Americans were the first to set their guard at the "doors", through which about 17000 ships pass through the year and almost 1 billion tons of cargo (data 2015 year). It is clear that the Chinese neighbors do not need them here. And if the Celestial Empire today has a one-to-eight-base account, it's still in favor of Beijing. In Djibouti, with GDP per capita less than 3 thousand dollars per year (167 place in the world) and a half of the population below the poverty line, the Chinese variant of subjugating Africa has much more chances. And let the Chinese aircraft carriers "Liaoning" and the "Shandong" that is being built afloat will not be able to enter the port of Djibouti because of their size, the first Chinese naval base abroad is an important reference point in the geopolitical expansion of Beijing.

A source: Strategic Culture Foundation

Author: Elena Pustovoytova

Tags: China, Military bases, Africa, Djibouti, Politics, International relations, Analytics, United States, Ships, Navy