Ships carrying Chinese military personnel are being sent to Djibouti to set up a "logistics support base" to "ensure China's performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia." The base is clearly a military base, although Chinese media and officials are denying that. In fact, Western media are referring to it as China's first military base outside of China. On Wednesday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denied that there was any military expansion: "The establishment of this base is mainly aimed to enable China to better perform its escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters as well as humanitarian relief and to make greater contributions to the peace and stability of Africa and beyond. In addition, I would like to reiterate that China stays committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a defensive national defense policy. This remains unchanged." Xinhua and CNN
Apparently Geng Shuang thinks that all of us in the West are so stupid that we don't remember that China told us exactly the same garbage about the South China Sea artificial islands. We were told that they were some sort of environmental project, with no military purpose whatsoever. Now those artificial islands are huge military bases bristling with missiles and aircraft, in clear violation of international law, as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal Today, it's clear that China is planning further criminal activity in the South China Sea, including launching military assaults to take full control of the entire South China Sea.
So now Geng Shuang thinks we're going to believe the same laughable nonsense about the Djibouti military base. Even more laughable is that Chinese media are weeping and whining, complaining about media bias. The Global Times says that "Many of the Western media has described China's Djibouti facility as a military base and referred to the move as military expansionism," and quotes Xu Guangyu, a military official as saying that Western media reports on the base show their prejudice:
"China's base in Djibouti has basic differences with military bases of other countries in scale, function and equipment. Compared with the specialized function of logistics support of the Chinese base, other military bases station more troops and fighters and conduct military training". China's Foreign Ministry
The Djibouti naval military base is the perfect endpoint to China's "string of pearls," commercial deep-water ports in the Indian Ocean that China could use in time of wars. Many of these ports were built and often are operated by Chinese companies. These include deep-water ports in Sri Lanka, in Colombo and Hambantota; Pakistan, in Gwadar and Karachi; Myanmar, in Sittwe; and the Seychelles, in Port Victoria. The Gwadar port in Pakistan is expected to be upgraded to a full Chinese military base soon.
China's base in Djibouti is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. Thus, in time of war, China will be able to block traffic through the Suez Canal.
Hosting foreign military bases is big business for Djibouti, which also hosts American, Japanese and French bases.... Global Times (Beijing)