11:47 GMT +319 November 2017
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    Beijing Explains Why China Needs Its First Overseas Military Base

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    The establishment of China's naval logistics center in Djibouti, which is in fact Beijing's first overseas military base, will enhance stability and security in the region and will allow the Asian state to more efficiently contribute to the peace processes of the African region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced the official opening of a naval logistics center of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. The same day, a ceremony for the Chinese sailors embarking to the base in Djibouti was held in the southeastern city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong province, China. Around 10,000 personnel will reportedly be deployed to the center.

    "The use of the logistics base in Djibouti will enable China to fulfill its international duty more efficiently, including patrol missions and participation in humanitarian operations," Geng said at a briefing.

    According to Geng, it will "contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the African region." He also stressed that Beijing was committed to peaceful development, adding that China's defense policy remained to be defensive in nature.

    In February, 2016, China announced it was building a logistical facility in Djibouti. The naval logistics center was expected to provide Chinese patrol boats in the Gulf of Aden and other areas, to serve as refuel and restock sites for Chinese vessels, as well as to provide recreational facilities for the sailors, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian.

    Djibouti borders on Somalia and is located in the Horn of Africa, which is plagued by piracy. China has been actively participating in anti-piracy measures in the region, with a reported 16,000 sailors and 1,300 marines serving in the Gulf of Aden between 2008 and 2015.

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