Ships carrying Chinese military personnel for its first overseas military base in Djibouti departed Zhanjiang in southern China’s Guangdong Province on Tuesday to begin setting up the facility, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
The ships included People’s Liberation Army Navy’s PLANS Donghaidao (MLP 868) Mobile Landing Platform and Jingangshan (LPD 999) Landing Platform Dock.
China began construction of a logistics base in strategically located Djibouti last year that will resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular.
Djibouti is favoured for its location as it sits near a busy shipping route. It is also seen as a stable country in an otherwise volatile region.
The statement published on Xinhua said that “the base will ensure China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia”. “The base will also be conducive to overseas tasks including military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways”, the statement added.
Djibouti is located in the Horn of Africa region at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The nation also hosts US, Japanese and French military bases.