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China to establish a military base in Djibouti - President

Tigrai Online, May 9, 2015

China to establish a military base in Djibouti - President
China is expected to become one the top military force on earth in a few years.

China is negotiating a military base in the strategic port of Djibouti, the president told AFP, raising the prospect of US and Chinese bases side-by-side in the tiny Horn of Africa nation.

"Discussions are ongoing," President Ismail Omar Guelleh told AFP in an interview in Djibouti, saying Beijing's presence would be "welcome".

Djibouti is already home to Camp Lemonnier, the US military headquarters on the continent, used for covert, anti-terror and other operations in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere across Africa.

France and Japan also have bases in the port, a former French colony that guards the entrance to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, and which has been used by European and other international navies as a base in the fight against piracy from neighbouring Somalia.


China is already financing several major infrastructure projects estimated to total more than $9 billion (8 billion euros), including improved ports, airports and railway lines to landlocked Ethiopia, for whom Djibouti is a lifeline port.

"France's presence is old, and the Americans found that the position of Djibouti could help in the fight against terrorism in the region," Guelleh said.

"The Japanese want to protect themselves from piracy - and now the Chinese also want to protect their interests, and they are welcome," he said.

Djibouti overseas the narrow Bab al-Mandeb straits, the channel separating Africa from Arabia and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, leading into the Red Sea and northwards to the Mediterranean.

Djibouti and Beijing signed a military agreement allowing the Chinese navy to use Djibouti port in February 2014, a move that angered Washington.

China aims to install a permanent military base in Obock, Djibouti's northern port city.

In recent years, Guelleh has increasingly turned to China as a key economic partner. Last year he switched the port operating contract to a Chinese company, after the previous Dubai-based operator was accused of corruption.

Source: AFP via Yahoo news - https://uk.news.yahoo.com/china-negotiating-horn-africa-military-djibouti-president-061459734.html#WuZ3TKC

What does this mean for Ethiopai?

What does this mean to Ethiopia and the countries in the Horn of Africa? France, the United States of America, Japan and China establishing military bases right in the neighborhood is a little unnerving to say the least. Ethiopia needs to work harder and faster to expand it’s influence in the area.

Djibouti has less than one million people and virtually no natural recourses to speak of, but it sits in the most strategic sea gate of the whole world. Ethiopia is growing in every sector faster than the world expected it, and that is scaring the world powers beyond believe. The reason is if Ethiopia swallows Djibouti it will control the door to the Red Sea, so the big powers are trying to slow down Djibouti’s inevitable fate, reuniting with Ethiopia.

Is this good or bad for the Horn of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular, what do you think?

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