“Djibouti [too] would like to strengthen exchange and cooperation with China in political, economic and military fields.” – President Guelleh
By Ben Blanchard | for Reuters,
China will boost military ties with Djibouti, strategically located in the Horn of Africa, state media quoted a senior Chinese army officer as saying during a visit to a country where China is building its first overseas naval base.
In February, China began construction in Djibouti of its first overseas military facility, a logistics base that will resupply naval vessels taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
Djibouti, which is about the size of Wales, is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts U.S., Japanese and French bases.
Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission, said after a meeting with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh the two countries could strengthen ties in all areas, including militarily, state news agency Xinhua said late on Thursday.
“The two sides have made frequent exchanges of visits, and achieved remarkable results in personnel training, naval escort and supplies, and participation in UN peacekeeping operations,” Xinhua paraphrased Fan as saying.
Fan said relations between the two militaries had been “developing smoothly in recent years”, Xinhua reported.
“China is willing to make joint efforts with Djibouti to continue to promote the healthy and stable development of relations between the militaries,” Fan said.
There was no direct mention of the Chinese military base, which China describes as a supply facility.
Djibouti’s location on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worries in India that it would become another of China’s “string of pearls” of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Senior Chinese Military Official Visits Djibouti
By CRI Online,
A senior Chinese military official has visited a Chinese command ship being resupplied in Djibouti, along with soldiers and officers in the African country to support the construction of a supply facility.
Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, emphasized that soldiers, officers and experts must ensure the quality and progress of overseas support construction, make greater efforts in peacekeeping missions and secure personal safety, improve military aid efficiency, deepen the relationship with local forces and ensure the safety of maritime communications.
Fan also held talks with Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Prime Minster Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed, discussing ways of further strengthening bilateral relations and comprehensive cooperation in a variety of areas, including in military matters.
Fan recalled that Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Guelleh had reached an important consensus on bilateral relations during their meeting at a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg in December.
He said that the two leaders reached consensus on enhancing political mutual trust and advancing practical cooperation in various fields to jointly build a new model of win-win cooperation and common development between developing countries.
China is willing to work with Djibouti to implement the important consensus reached by the two leaders and to actively push China-Djibouti relations to a new level, Fan said.
Fan also pointed out that relations between the two militaries have been developing smoothly in recent years.
The two sides have carried out frequent exchanges of visits, and achieved remarkable results in personnel training, naval escort and supplies, and participation in UN peacekeeping operations.
He said China is willing to make joint efforts with Djibouti to continue to promote the healthy and stable development of relations between the militaries.
President Guelleh commended China for its strong support and assistance to Djibouti, saying that Djibouti attaches great importance to the relations between the militaries and the two countries.
Djibouti would like to strengthen exchange and cooperation with China in political, economic and military fields, he said.
Prime Minister Kamil said Djibouti and China can boast of close relations, and that Djibouti is willing to provide support for China’s activities in Africa.
Fan was visiting the African country, after meeting Chinese soldiers and officers of the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and the Chinese military experts for support missions in Tanzania.