Neighbors: China Builds Africa Base Near US Base, Americans Express Concern

© AP Photo / Sayyid AzimHelicopter flies over Djibouti harbour as part of city is seen, background
Helicopter flies over Djibouti harbour as part of city is seen, background - Sputnik International
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China appears to be throwing down the gauntlet by establishing the nation’s first military installation abroad in the same city as a major US outpost.

China is getting ready to move "a few thousand" troops and other military personnel to its first permanent military installation abroad, a new base stationed in Djibouti on the strategic Horn of Africa, according to China Cheat Sheets.

​The city of its location also happens to be the site of America's own major African military camp, a 4,500 member base used for counter-terrorism and other operations. 

China’s move has made the US concerned that its rival is beginning a new era as an international military force. Previously, China was seen primarily as an economic competitor with which the US sometimes came into conflict with in the greater Asian region. Further proof of China’s intention to expand its reach, the world power is increasing their commitment to worldwide peacekeeping operations to 8,000 troops.

US Navy personnel looks at Philippine Navy vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz during the bilateral maritime exercise between the Philippine Navy and US Navy dubbed Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2014) aboard the USS John S. McCain in the South China Sea near waters claimed by Beijing on June 28, 2014 - Sputnik International
US Challenges China, Tests Sovereignty in South China Sea
However, China has downplayed their role in Africa and described the Djibouti base as a "logistical facility” to enhance worldwide anti-piracy efforts.

“What needs to be stressed is that China upholds a path of peaceful development … and has never engaged in an arms race or military expansion. This will never change,” the Chinese Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Ali Youssouf has revealed that China will pay his government $20 million per year to lease the facility for a “few thousand” members of the Chinese military and civilian staff. 

China has already committed to providing $1 billion in loans for infrastructure projects to help enhance Djibouti's $1.5 billion economy. Chinese media has reported that they will assist in the construction of a $4 billion railway to connect Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa to Djibouti’s newly developed Chinese port where the military facility will be located.

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