The supply facility that China is building in Djibouti is to fulfill duties such as peacekeeping and not for military expansion, Defense Ministry says.
China is building an overseas supply facility to better fulfill its international responsibilities and duties and to protect China’s rightful interests, and not for military expansion, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said on Wednesday.
The construction of China’s first supply facility in Djibouti is going smoothly, Yang said. The supply facility will be used for replenishing Chinese Navy ships taking part in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, he said.
Yang’s remarks follow a visit to the Djibouti facility by Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, during a two-day visit to the country last week.
Work on the Djibouti supply facility must be accelerated, with planning and quality a priority, in order to provide stronger support for overseas missions, Fan said.
Construction of the supply hub began in February. Completion of the facility, which will have the capacity to house 10,000 personnel, is projected to be finished next year.
Djibouti, which is surrounded by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. Djibouti also hosts US, Japanese and French military bases.
Since 2008, China has sent 24 naval escort fleets to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia’s waters, escorting more than 6,000 ships from home and abroad, according to the Defense Ministry.
“China insists on peaceful development, upholding defensive national security policy and safeguarding regional and international peace and security,” said Yang.
“As China’s overseas operations grow, it is crucial for logistics to keep up, or the effectiveness of the mission will be limited,” he said. Docking and resupplying in foreign nations can be diplomatically complex and costly, he added.
Having a home logistics hub can ensure efficient and quality resupply, improving the Chinese Navy’s operations, he said.