How the Tiny African Nation of Djibouti Became the Linchpin in China’s Belt and Road Plan
By Lee Jeong-ho
Djibouti, a remote country at the Horn of Africa, is at the heart of China’s multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road Initiative”, supporting Beijing’s juggling of commercial and military objectives amid Western suspicions about its motives.
The initiative – which aims to strengthen the infrastructure of land and sea routes linking Asia, Europe and Africa – is largely commercial in nature, but it has also triggered the need for China to bolster its military presence to protect its growing interests abroad.
Accordingly, China moved to set up a military base in Djibouti in 2017 – a step that elevated the African nation’s status while sparking concerns over China’s military might.
The maritime portion of the belt and road aims to connect China’s coastal areas and Europe via the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Photo courtesy of Olivier ROUX.