UK Business Insider
1 August 2018
- According to reports from Die Welt, Xi Jinping may be carrying out plans to up China’s power through Djibouti.
- Satellite images of a military base there, stressed to be for humanitarian purposes only, show the construction of berths for warships.
- China’s arms supplies to Africa have recently increased too.
China and Djibouti: when held up against one another, the countries couldn’t be more polar opposites.
China is the most highly populated country on Earth and Djibouti is tiny by comparison, ranked as eighth smallest country in Africa by area. The former is preparing to become the biggest trading power of the future, while the latter is still one of the poorest 20 countries in the world.
Yet right now, Djibouti is of great importance to China. Xi Jinping is treating Djibouti — hotspot for smugglers and pirates and the same country where misery and famine still determine the everyday lives of many — as a podium on which it can showcase its military strength, for all the world to see.
Xi Jinping may be carrying out plans to expand power in Djibouti
Djibouti is the first overseas military base China has built, allegedly for humanitarian purposes only. Yet the country has been positioning soldiers there over the past year — in reality, it appears as though Head of State Xi Jinping has other much bigger plans.
Despite insistence that the base was not for military purposes, reports from Die Welt, based on analysis of satellite images examined by British journal Jane’s Defense Weekly, confirmed that deep berths — which have been in construction since May — appeared to be for warships.
Alarmingly, this fits comfortably into the theory that China is looking to dominate the region. It seems Beijing’s movers and shakers really are pushing ahead with their gigantic silk road project.
The Horn of Africa is the gateway to the whole continent so, strategically, it would be significantly valuable to China if the country were looking to outstrip the USA and take over world trade in the future. The only catch is that it’s so unstable, it can only be controlled with a massive military presence — which it seems Beijing has already begun working towards.
China’s arms supplies to Africa have recently increased too
Die Welt’s report also makes reference to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (Sipri), based upon which it suggests the military base in Djibouti is “a starting point for China’s new naval policy”.
However, patrol at sea isn’t a guarantee of complete control; for that, you need to have a say in arms — as cynical as it may sound.
And, again, it seems China is already well aware of that: according to Die Welt, China is the only country that managed to see its arms sales to Africa increase by over 55% between 2013 and 2017. By comparison, Russia and the US saw massive plunges over the same period.
A Sipri spokesman told Die Welt: “Beijing will become a major player in arms exports in the future