China sends forces to first for­eign base

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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