China is likely to build more military bases overseas after establishing a facility in the African nation of Djibouti, the US Defense Department said, identifying Pakistan as a possible location.
“China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan,” the Pentagon said in a report released on Tuesday.
Pakistan is already the primary market in the Asian-Pacific region for Chinese arms exports, the report noted, according to Reuters.
Last year, China signed an agreement with Pakistan for the sale of eight submarines.
The Pentagon report repeatedly cited China’s construction of its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, which is already home to a key US military base and is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.
Beijing will now plan more overseas facilities, the US Defense Department was quoted as saying in a 97-page annual report to Congress.
The Pentagon noted advances throughout the Chinese military in 2016, funded by robust defense spending that is estimated to have topped US$180 billion.
That is higher than China’s official defense budget figure of 954.35 billion yuan (US$140.4 billion).
Chinese leaders appear committed to defense spending hikes for the “foreseeable future,” the US report said.
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