China's Global Military Base Strategy Taking Shape

(MENAFN- Asia Times) China is securing international military base access agreements to expand the global reach of its armed forces, a counter to America's extended deterrence strategy for Taiwan while threatening India with encirclement.

This month, RAND released a report detailing how China is advancing its global military reach by negotiating base access agreements to expand its security footprint and enable overseas operations for the People's Liberation army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police (PAP).

RAND identifies target countries including Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, the Solomon Islands, the UAE and Vanuatu. The report notes China already operates a logistics base in Djibouti and a paramilitary outpost in Tajikistan.

Apart from those countries, Newsweek reported in March 2024 that China is also seeking base access in Cuba, Pakistan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

While these bases support peacetime operations like noncombatant evacuations and intelligence-gathering, their potential wartime utility is uncertain, the Rand report says. The PLA's primary kinetic mission from these bases will likely be protecting sea lines of communication (SLOC) through 2030.

China's military writings indicate a lack of plans or ability to utilize foreign bases for offensive actions against US forces by 2030, the Rand report says. It says China's priority is the protection of maritime trade routes and response to possible US blockades.

The report also highlights the significant challenges the PLA faces in developing and sustaining these bases, including the political reliability of host nations, logistical support issues and base security. It notes that the PLA relies heavily on mobilized civilian assets for logistics, raising concerns about the effectiveness and resilience of the approach in wartime.


Asia Times

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