China could place thousands of marines in Djibouti as start of shifting focus from land to water

China might station up to 10,000 marines, navy seamen and other personnel in its African base at Djibouti.

China is expanding their marine forces from 20,000 up to 100,000. The US has 186,000 marines and about 40,000 reserves. A few other Asian countries are in the range of 20,000 to 30,000 marines. China is mainly transferring army units to the marines.

China will likely need all of these marines for the South China Sea, Belt and Road protection, protection of oil and commercial shipping, Indian Ocean activity and possibly if they need something related to Taiwan.

China is constructing a naval base in Djibouti to provide what it calls logistical support in one of the world’s busiest waterways. The defense ministry said in a statement last year that the facility was mostly for resupply purposes for anti-piracy, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

Former colonial power France and the United States also maintain sizeable bases in Djibouti, with the latter’s Camp Lemonnier home to more than 4,000 personnel. China has not said how many people its base can accommodate, although some media reports have put the figure as high as 10,000.

China has over 5 million barrels of oil per day from Africa and the Middle East. China also has over $60 billion in loans to African countries.