Hints of more Chinese bases after Djibouti facility

BEIJING • China has hinted that it is planning more global bases following the setting up of its logistics centre in Djibouti, what the Horn of Africa country's government calls a military facility that will be China's first overseas.

China plans to use it to support its anti-piracy operations in the waters off the strife-torn nations of Somalia and Yemen.

Beijing has been keen not to call the facility a military base, but state media has increasingly been referring to it in similar terms.

China's Defence Ministry said last month that building had begun on the base, something China describes as naval "support facilities" in Djibouti, which has fewer than a million people but is striving to become an international shipping hub.

Djibouti, strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal, is already home to United States and French bases, while other navies often use its port.

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

We are willing to - in accordance with objective needs, responding to the wishes of host nations and in regions where China's interests are concentrated - try out the construction of some infrastructure facilities and support abilities. I believe that this is not only fair and reasonable but also accords with international practice.

'' MR WANG YI, China's Foreign Minister

Asked about Djibouti at his yearly news conference on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of Parliament yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was fulfilling its international obligations to protect shipping.

"We are willing to - in accordance with objective needs, responding to the wishes of host nations and in regions where China's interests are concentrated - try out the construction of some infrastructure facilities and support abilities," he said.

"I believe that this is not only fair and reasonable but also accords with international practice," Mr Wang said, without elaborating.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is seeking to expand its capacity to respond to growing threats to its interests abroad.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Hints of more Chinese bases after Djibouti facility'. Print Edition | Subscribe