China sends forces to first foreign base
BEIJING — China on Tuesday dispatched members of its People’s Liberation Army to the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti to man its first overseas military base, a key part of a wide-ranging expansion of the role of China’s armed forces.
The Defense Ministry said on its website that a ceremony was held at a naval pier in the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang, presided over by navy commander Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong. It said the personnel would travel by naval ship, but it gave no details on numbers or units. Photos showed naval officers and marines in battle dress lining the rails of the support ships Jingangshan and Donghaidao.
China says the logistics center will support anti-piracy, U.N. peacekeeping, and humanitarian relief missions in Africa and western Asia. It says it will also facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises as the navy and other services seek to expand their global reach.