First Chinese troops head to Djibouti military base - SupChina

First Chinese troops head to Djibouti military base

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China’s state media on June 12 featured news that Chinese troops were deployed for the first time to an overseas navy base in Djibouti — see, for example, Xinhua coverage in English and Chinese. The base, China’s first overseas military facility, has been under construction in the Horn of Africa for more than a year, yet military officials have not yet publicly announced a timeline for its operations to formally begin, Reuters notes.

What’s next?

  • China’s navy is set to gain prominence and power — this will stem from an upgrade in personnel and support to overseas missions even as the People’s Liberation Army gets trimmed down to less than 1 million troops for the first time in its history.
  • Many international observers, including Pakistani diplomats and U.S. military analysts, expect that China will soon establish more overseas military bases, with Pakistan being the most likely location for another one. The Chinese government has dismissed these reports.

Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.