UN expects more involvement from China’s base in Djibouti: representative

Global Times
Huang Panyue

The UN representative in Djibouti has expressed confidence that the Chinese Navy's logistics base in Djibouti could further engage with regional humanitarian efforts, with Chinese experts saying the country's advanced weapons, such as Rainbow drones, could participate in such missions.

"It's important for all countries to be prepared in case of disasters, and to ensure that all resources and assets available are mobilized to respond to such disasters in case of need," Barbara Manzi, UN Resident Coordinator of Djibouti, told the Global Times.

The UN is looking forward to further engage with China's base in Djibouti to find ways, as responsible members of the international community, to better support the Government to serve such goals, Manzi said.

Djibouti is an island of peace, surround by countries which experience many difficulties, and its geographic location makes it an ideal place to support regional humanitarian efforts and cooperation, Manzi said.

Though a small country, Djibouti holds a strategically important location facing the Gulf of Aden. The country is home to China's first overseas naval logistics base, which began construction in 2016 and formally opened in August 2017 with a flag raising ceremony in Djibouti at the Horn of Africa.

On July 2, over 100 soldiers in the base held a skill competition in the heat of 43 C conditions. The competition, which has lasted nearly a month, has 56 events that include marksmanship and examinations on vehicle explosives, news site people.cn reported.

Soldiers trained at the base could get more involved in disaster relief missions and regional efforts to fight against terrorists and pirates, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

Joint drills with African troops is another option, in which the Chinese Navy bring their advanced weapons, such as light weapons, armed vehicles and China's home-made Rainbow drones, according to Song.

With strong capability in detecting targets, the Rainbow drones could also accomplish real-time attack missions with high accuracy, which makes it a useful weapon in anti-terrorist activities, said Song.

Medical staffers in the base could also join such missions more frequently and help train local personnel, Song added.

The base also provides medical treatment for Chinese business persons in case of emergency, according to staffers from a nearby Chinese company reached by the Global Times.

Sitting on the Bad el-Mandeb Strait, a gateway to one of the world's busiest shipping routes, Djibouti is also home to the largest US permanent military base in Africa and one of the largest concentrations of French overseas forces.


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