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China is building its first overseas military base in Djibouti — right next to a key US one

James Jeffrey — Global Post May 3, 2016

US troops sweating away in Djibouti will soon be seeing a lot more of their counterparts from a great economic and military rival: China.

Since 2014, this small chunk of the Horn of Africa, little bigger than the state of New Jersey, has been the only place in the world where the warships of the two countries’ navies are moored alongside each other.

Now work is underway constructing China’s first overseas military base here. It will house thousands of personnel at Obock, a northern port a couple of hours by boat across the Gulf of Tadjoura from Djibouti City, the capital.

A former French colony, Djibouti was once known for little more than French legionnaires, atrocious heat and the sordid nightlife of its seaside capital.

But the diminutive nation has turned itself into a geostrategic linchpin with political clout far outstripping its size and population of just 900,000.

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