China is expanding its international naval presence as tensions with the West continue to grow. In 2017, Beijing’s first naval base outside of mainland China opened in Djibouti, situated only 6 miles from Camp Lemonnier. The largest US military base in Africa, which overlooks strategic trade routes linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean. Since then, China has made moves to expand its naval presence in Africa, Asia, and South America. With state-run projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, China reinforced key economic partnerships in countries with strategic geographic advantages.
Key Judgement 1: It is probable that China is granted permission to build its 2nd naval base in Africa to expand its sphere of influence near maritime chokepoints the in the next 12 months
Key Judgement 2: The highly anticipated Ream naval base in Cambodia is the first naval base in the Indo-Pacific region and likely be completed in the next 12 months.
Key Judgement 3: China is highly likely to continue pursuing strategic naval partnerships near Antarctica in particular, with Argentina and Chile over the next 12 months.