Djibouti base ‘not military expansion’: MOD

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/30 18:13:39 Last Updated: 2016/12/1 0:23:39

A Chinese logistics base in Djibouti is not part of an overseas military expansion, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday, following a top Chinese military leader's visit to the East Africa country.

The logistics base in Djibouti will safeguard the Chinese military's anti-piracy missions around the Gulf of Aden and Somalia, and provide humanitarian relief, the ministry said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

The overseas base aims to help China take greater international responsibility and maintain Chinese interests rather than being built for the purpose of military expansion. China always holds a policy of only acting in defense and safeguards international and regional peace, a position which is consistent and clear, the ministry emphasized.

Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission, visited the Djibouti military logistics site during his visit to the African country on November 23 and 24.

"Our base in Djibouti is not a military base. Unlike the US and Japan, our base has no weapons stores. It's a logistics supply base which offers food, fresh water, medicine, and relief materials like tents," Song Zhongping, a military commentator from Phoenix TV, told the Global Times.

The Chinese base in Djibouti, which will be able to hold 10,000 people, cannot harbor any military ships, and it falls short on target, function and scale to be a military base, the People's Liberation Army Daily reported in October.

"We are also building bases to serve the 'Belt and Road' initiative since our bases and ports will bring benefits to the countries, Song said, adding that China can build more ports in southern Africa, and some Mediterranean countries.

Nations including the US, France and Japan have their own military bases in Djibouti, a small nation located in the northeast corner of the African continent at the mouth of the Mandab Strait.

"Setting up a base in Djibouti is a non-exclusive decision, which would help promote international cooperation on fighting terrorism around Africa," Han Hua, an associate Professor at the School of International Studies, Peking University, told the Global Times.

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