Djibouti signs deal with Hong Kong firm to build rocket launch site

The Republic of Djibouti has signed a preliminary $1 billion contract with a Hong Kong company to build a facility to launch satellites and rockets in an African country where the Chinese Communist regime has established military bases.

Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh on January 10 signed a partnership agreement with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology for a five-year project to ensure the safe transportation of aerospace materials.

Guelleh said the project will include the construction of a port and highway in the northern Obock region. The infrastructure will be transferred to Djibouti after 30 years of co-management with the Hong Kong company, he added.

“We are pleased to commit our country to this promising technology and energy development project. he said on Twitter.

The agreement follows a visit by Hong Kong Aerospace Technology delegation to Djibouti on 4 January to discuss business cooperation with the government. The company promised to provide a “win-win situation” and promote cooperation with the Djibouti side, according to a statement.

Chinese naval base

In April 2021, then-commander-in-chief of U.S. Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend, said the Chinese regime’s naval capabilities included facilities at a modernized base in the Horn of Africa in Djibouti, and said it could support the growing fleet of aircraft carriers.

“Their first overseas military base is in Africa and they have expanded it by adding a significant pier that could even support aircraft carriers in the future. We’re looking for it,” Townsend says. Said House Armed Services Committee on April 20, 2021.

Beijing opened a base in Djibouti in 2017. It is home to approximately 4,500 U.S. military personnel and is just 7.4 miles (12 km) from Camp Lemonnier, the main base of operations for U.S. Africa Command. Several other countries are also based in Djibouti, such as France, Japan, and Italy.

Djibouti’s strategic location is the reason why there are so many different military bases. Djibouti borders the Bab El Mandeb Strait, which separates the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea. The latter is the gateway to the Suez Canal. About 12% of world trade passes through the Suez Canal every day.

Chinese military officials have publicly denied that the Djibouti base was intended for “military expansion”, claiming the base was necessary to support anti-piracy and humanitarian relief missions.

But Townsend told the Commission that China[s] Intention to establish additional overseas bases in Africa, whether on Africa’s Atlantic coast or Africa’s Indian Ocean coast. “

“China is very concerned. They’re literally everywhere on the continent. They’re betting a lot. They’re spending a lot of money,” Townsend said.

Frank Fang contributed to this report.

Aldogra Fredry

Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.