China on Thursday offered loans to Djibouti, the site of its first overseas military base, as the Horn of Africa state’s leader told President Xi Jinping he considered himself a great friend of the Asian giant. China formally opened the base, which it calls a logistics facility, on Aug. 1, the 90th birthday of the People’s Liberation Army. Djibouti also hosts large US and French bases. Djibouti was politically stable, Xi told its president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, at a meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. “China sets great store by its relations with Djibouti,” he added. The base will be used to resupply navy ships participating in peacekeeping, humanitarian and anti-piracy missions off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, in particular, according to Reuters. China also has deep economic interests in Djibouti. Last week, China’s POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $4 billion in a natural gas project in Djibouti.
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