A China estará prestes a ter a sua primeira base militar no estrangeiro, nomeadamente no Djibouti – na intersecção com o Golfo de Aden e o Mar Vermelho. Noticia confirmada pelo comandante do Africa Command dos EUA, o General David Rodriguez.
Já em Maio de 2015 o Presidente Ismail Omar Guelleh tinha dito à Agence France-Presse que a China e o Djibouti estavam em conversações sobre a possibilidade de estabelecer uma base militar chinesa no país.
China is “going to build a base in Djibouti, so that will be their first military location in Africa,” Rodriguez said. He described the base as a logistics hub that China would use to “extend their reach.”
… Beijing would be most likely to pursue a “dual use logistics facility” overseas rather than following the U.S. basing model. “Such a logistics facility would be designed to address non-traditional security challenges to China’s overseas interests,” Yung wrote. “It would ease the logistics burden of China’s overseas naval operations (at present mostly counter-piracy operations), but could expand to support limited operations protecting Chinese citizens and property abroad.”
That seems to be precisely the model China is pursuing in Djibouti – a logistics hub for its counter-piracy operations and for potential contingencies. It’s telling that Guelleh confirmed China’s interest in establishing a base in Djibouti one month after China’s navy had to conduct a large-scale evacuation of its citizens (and other foreign nationals) from Yemen. All told, China evacuated 629 of its citizens and 279 foreign nationals – and many of them were evacuated to Djibouti. That example, the second time in five years China has to undertake a mass evacuation of its citizens in the greater Middle East, likely drove home the utility of having a military base in the area.