PLA es­tab­lishes base in Horn of Africa

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army of­fi­cially es­tab­lished its Dji­bouti Lo­gis­tics Sup­port Base on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the PLA Navy.

Troops des­ig­nated for the base in the Horn of Africa left for the fa­cil­ity, the first of its kind for the Chi­nese mil­i­tary, af­ter a de­par­ture cer­e­mony at a naval port in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong prov­ince, the Navy said.

The PLA Dji­bouti Lo­gis­tics Sup­port Base, lo­cated in Dji­bouti City, the African na­tion’s cap­i­tal, is a re­sult of friendly ne­go­ti­a­tions by the gov­ern­ments of China and Dji­bouti and is in the in­ter­ests of the two peo­ples, the PLA Navy said.

The base will sup­port the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s naval es­cort, peace­keep­ing and hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions in Africa and western Asia, the news re­lease said. It will also help China to im­prove its ca­pa­bil­i­ties in terms of in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion, joint ex­er­cises, emer­gency evac­u­a­tion and over­seas res­cue.

More­over, the base will en­able the na­tion to bet­ter safe­guard the safety of in­ter­na­tional strate­gic maritime pas­sages with other coun­tries, it said.

Vice-Ad­mi­ral Shen Jin­long, com­man­der of the PLA Navy, an­nounced an or­der on the base’s es­tab­lish­ment and con­ferred a flag to the base gar­ri­son at the cer­e­mony.

The troops are car­ried by two ships — the CNS Jing­gang­shan, an am­phib­ian land­ing craft, and CNS Dong­haidao, a semi-sub­mersible sup­port ship, the news re­lease said.

In Novem­ber 2015, the Chi­nese mil­i­tary con­firmed for the first time its in­ter­est in hav­ing a “sup­port fa­cil­ity” in Dji­bouti. At the time, Wu Qian, a De­fense Min­istry spokesman, told a news con­fer­ence that China was in talks with the African na­tion on this mat­ter.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, Wu said the two sides had reached an agree­ment on the base and the con­struc­tion had be­gun.

In Novem­ber, Yang Yu­jun, an­other spokesman for the min­istry, said China plans to use the base to bet­ter im­ple­ment its in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions and to pro­tect the na­tion’s over­seas in­ter­ests but not to seek “mil­i­tary ex­pan­sion”.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Vice-Ad­mi­ral Shen Jin­long, com­man­der of the PLA Navy, presents a flag to the Dji­bouti Lo­gis­tics Sup­port Base gar­ri­son at their de­par­ture cer­e­mony at a naval port in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day.

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