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China dispatches military personnel to Djibouti base

By AP

China has dispatched members of the People’s Liberation Army to the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti to set up the rising Asian giant’s first overseas military base.

The defense ministry said on its website that a ceremony was held Tuesday at a naval peer in the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang presided over by navy commander Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong.

China says it will use the base to support anti-piracy, U.N. peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions in Africa and western Asia. It says it will also facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises as the PLA navy and other services seek to expand their global reach in step with China’s growing economic and political footprint.

The U.S., France, Japan and several other countries already maintain a military presence in Djibouti.

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