Plus, details on China’s five-year plan, more on the Ma-Xi meeting, and a US delegation in Tibet. Friday China links.
The chief of the general staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, General Fang Fenghui, visited Djibouti this week, where he met with the president, foreign and defense ministers, and the chief of staff of the Djibouti Armed Forces. China Military Online has an outline of Fang’s visit.
The trip sparked more speculation that China is moving to opening its first overseas military base in Djibouti, as detailed in this DefenseNews story. Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh has been open that the two sides are discussing a Chinese military base, although no Chinese officials have confirmed the reports. China regularly participates in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden; having a military base in Djibouti would provide easy access to resupply and support facilities. The United States, Japan, and France already have military bases in Djibouti, which is strategically located at the junction between the Gulf of Adan and the Red Sea.
However, China’s interests in Africa as a whole continue to focus on economic and social relations, according to the consensus at a Kenyan seminar on “Deepening China-Africa Cooperation.” Xinhua cited officials from China as saying that the upcoming leaders’ summit in South Africa, the Forum on China-African Cooperation, would be an opportunity to advance economic and trade ties, to the benefit of both sides.