Ships carrying Chinese troops are heading to Djibouti to set up Beijing’s first overseas military base, reports state media, BBC reports.
China says the support base will be used for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and West Asia.
It will also be used for military co-operation, naval exercises and rescue missions, Xinhua said.
China has ramped up investment in Africa, as well as rapidly modernised its military in recent years.
The Xinhua report said the ships departed from the port city of Zhanjiang in China’s southern Guangdong province on Tuesday.
It did not specify the number of troops or ships that departed for Djibouti, nor when the base would start operations.