Beijing protects its economic interests in Africa

A giant of 25,000 tons. From August 6 to 13, 2022, a strategic building of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stops at Doraleh, the headquarters of the very secretive Chinese military base in Djibouti, Beijing’s first overseas country. The Changbai Chan, a helicopter carrier capable of carrying 800 sailors, was spotted by Preleges, a French specialist in image analysis.

The passage of this ship to this tiny state in the Horn of Africa at the entrance to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, the nerve center of world trade, is a good example of the growing power of this base inaugurated in 2017. Our automatic detection shows more and more frequent visits from high tonnage vessels in recent months”, explains Preligens executive Aurélien Debièvre.

Located between the port of Djibouti operated by China and the new railway station, the terminus of the Djibouti-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) link, also built and financed by Beijing, this base, according to Western intelligence, houses a real arsenal: stock various ammunition, PLA electronic warfare units, drone tracks … while the site will “accommodate less than 1,000 (troops) in this base, dedicated to logistics support”, as claimed by the challenges Djibouti’s ambassador in Paris, Ayad Moussed Yahya, several French security sources call for a maximum capacity of 5,000 people and insist the XXL means camouflage at this Doraleh site.



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