Djibouti: China's approach to military expansion

A flag-raising ceremony at a Hong Kong naval base last year. Djibouti is the opening chapter to a greater Chinese military presence overseas, says the writer. Now that China has gathered the experience and know-how, Beijing sources say it is only a m
A flag-raising ceremony at a Hong Kong naval base last year. Djibouti is the opening chapter to a greater Chinese military presence overseas, says the writer. Now that China has gathered the experience and know-how, Beijing sources say it is only a matter of time before more overseas bases are built.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti last year. Now, after a year of operation, many details have surfaced to provide a better idea of Beijing's reason for the base, and its wider global calculations predicated on the facility.

Beijing has always couched the rationale for the base in benign terms. This narrative, however, disguises its broader and larger ambitions. It also hides the increasingly sophisticated approach that China has adopted to pursue its goals. Djibouti is a critical step in the global ambitions of China's military.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline 'Djibouti: China's approach to military expansion'. Subscribe