Hub ex­plained

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 Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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, he­said.

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