IIAS Lunch Lecture

China's First-Ever Military Base Abroad: Implications for Regional Peace and Security in the Turbulent Horn of Africa

Lecture by Dr Daniel Mekonnen, ASCL-IIAS Joint Visiting Fellow, Director of the Eritrean Law Society (ELS).

Lunch is provided. Registration is required.

For many decades, China was known by its firm political standing opposed to the idea of sending a single soldier abroad during peacetime. Breaking away from this tradition, in July 2017 China formally inaugurated its first-ever military base abroad, located in Djibouti. On a related issue, China has a well-known reputation, among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as the leading contributor of troops to UN mandated peace-making operations around the world. Nonetheless, its latest move of opening a military base in a foreign land comes indeed as unprecedented development, not only because it marks a significant departure from China’s sustained position of many decades, but also the newly established military base is located in a region (the Horn of Africa) described by some experts as the most conflict-ridden part of the world since the end of the Second World War – at least in terms of frequency or occurrence of armed conflicts (Shinn 2010). Following China’s latest move, hard-hitting questions are already emerging on how this development will affect (positively or negatively) the ever-fragile situation of peace and security in the Horn of Africa. This development invites critical academic inquiry, using the theoretical framework of international security studies, anchored on the phenomenon of a new international intervention in the Horn of Africa.

Daniel Mekonnen is the Director of the Eritrean Law Society (ELS). Among other things, he was Judge of the Central Provincial Court in Eritrea, and has also served as a Senior Legal Advisor and Research Professor at the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI). Currently, he is working on a forthcoming monograph titled “Africa and the International Criminal Court: Between Cooperation and Antagonism,” having completed a 6-month foundational research work on this same topic (from January to June 2018) at the Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University, as a Senior Core Fellow. 

From July to December 2018, he is based in Leiden as a Joint Visiting Fellow of the African Studies Centre (ASC) and the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). 



Registration (required)

If you would like to attend this lecture, please register via our webform (by Friday, 14 December 14:00 hrs. if you would like IIAS to provide lunch).

About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, one of the IIAS affiliated fellows will give an informal presentation about his/her work-in-progress for colleagues and others interested. Lunch lectures are sometimes also organised for visiting scholars.

IIAS organises these lectures to provide the research community with an opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas. Anyone with an interest in the subject matter at hand is welcome to attend and join the discussion.