Security and Defence

Policy briefs

Outpost of empire: Base politics with Chinese characteristics

06 Apr 2020 - 09:39
Bron: Chinese marines in 2000 © Wikicommons

China’s first overseas military base in Djibouti represents a shift in Beijing’s foreign and security policy, as it indicates China’s increasingly flexible approach to its traditional non-interference principle. The base in Djibouti not only signifies its expanding military presence in Africa and the Indian Ocean Region, but also its securitisation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Moreover, the infrastructure network developed under the BRI illustrates China’s security ambitions of protecting its global trade and communication routes. Beijing is establish itself as a global maritime power by financing and building dual-use ports and infrastructure in strategic littoral states along the Indian Ocean. This strategic basing of overseas facilities has a historical familiarity to it, as aspects of it resemble American post-World War II base politics.

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