Ships carrying Chinese military personnel departed Zhanjiang in southern China’s Guangdong Province as they set up a support base in Djibouti. The African nation of Djibouti serves as a gateway to the Suez Canal, one of the most trafficked shipping lanes in the world.
Djibouti hosts America’s biggest military base in Africa.

The establishment of the PLA Djibouti base was a decision made by the two countries after friendly negotiations, and accords with the common interest of the people from both sides, according to China’s PLA navy.

The PLA says the base will ensure China’s performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia.

“The base will also be conducive to overseas tasks including military cooperation, joint exercises, evacuating and protecting overseas Chinese and emergency rescue, as well as jointly maintaining security of international strategic seaways,” said a Xinhua report.

Djibouti declared independence from France in 1977.

China began construction of a logistics base in Djibouti in 2016.