China intends to establish a series of naval bases in Africa and Asia to protect its own trade routes and strengthen its ability to withstand sanctions from the United States and its allies. This is reported by the American research institute AidData in its report.
The three most likely locations for a Chinese naval base in the next two to five years are Sri Lanka (Khambantot), Equatorial Guinea (Bata) and Pakistan (Gwadar). This is indicated by an analysis of the amount of funding that China allocates for port projects in these cities, as well as the strategic value of the existing infrastructure and strong relations with the governments of the host countries.
Unlike the US, China is not a member of international defense alliances — its only official defense treaty is with North Korea. This makes the development of overseas naval bases a priority for China's military development, according to AidData researchers.
Four of the eight bases that AidData believes China plans to build in the near future will be in Africa. But Beijing can secure its interests in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait at the expense of bases on the mainland of China.
According to AidData, the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka is considered the most likely location for the base in the near future. The port, which opened in 2010, was financed by a $306.7 million loan from China Exim Bank, a state-owned development bank. AidData reports that Beijing exercises "direct control over the facility".
Another naval base currently under construction and likely to be used by the Chinese military is located in the city of Ream, Cambodia. Defense analysts say the military base will give China significant strategic advantages, including access to the Gulf of Thailand.
No less important for China will be the base in Djibouti - in a strategic place in the east of Africa, where the main shipping routes of the world pass.
Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 28/07/2023