Friday, April 1, 2016

China's Campaign to Explain and Operate Overseas Military Facilities

Reuters published on 27 March 2016 an article titled "China Tries to Ease Worries about Overseas Military Bases" and on 31 March 2016 an article titled "China Sets Up Unit to Coordinate Overseas Military Moves" both articles by Ben Blanchard. 

The first article reports that China has launched a charm offensive to explain its first overseas naval base in Djibouti.  China insists it is only a support facility.  China says the Djibouti facility is mostly for resupply purposes in support of its anti-piracy, humanitarian, and peacekeeping operations in the region.  One Chinese official said it is part of the One Belt, One Road initiative to help landlocked Ethiopia have a link to the sea.  China's foreign minister hinted that other military facilities may be on the way.

The second article reports the creation of a new dedicated unit in China to coordinate its "non-war" activities overseas such as evacuations from conflict zones, support for peacekeeping operations, and joint drills.  It is called the Overseas Action Department in the Ministry of Defence.

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