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People's Daily Online

Djibouti base not for military power: PLA Daily

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 15:45, October 25, 2016

Chinese State military media has slammed Western media's hyping of the Chinese facilities in Djibouti as military base, re-emphasizing that the facilities are meant for supply missions.

The Djibouti base has long been the focus of Western media outlets, which often refer to it as a base intended for military use, featuring weapons stores and even some Chinese forces.

"The West should not be so sensitive to this issue, as China has no intention of turning the logistics center in Djibouti into a military base," said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily on Oct. 25.

According to a contract signed in December 2015, the base will be able to hold 10,000 people, charged with protecting the region's economic and business interests. It cannot, however, harbor any military ships, and it falls short on target, function and scale for being a military base, PLA Daily said.

China's Ministry of National Defense admitted in February that China had begun construction on a logistics facility in Djibouti to support troops in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast, Global Times reported.

Twenty-four missions have been dispatched to the Gulf of Aden since 2008. The basic food and oil supply for those missions relies on resupplying on land after communication with governments in the region, making the process difficult and time-consuming, according to PLA Daily.

"Therefore, the logistics facility will greatly enhance the efficiency of resupplying ships, and can even help with international peacekeeping as it can enhance the measures available to be taken in case of emergency," the newspaper added.

"[The base] is of great significance for Chinese troops as they perform their international obligations to safeguard international and regional peace and stability," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2015.

Meanwhile, PLA Daily pointed out that China reserves the rights to establish overseas military bases, but denied that the decision to exercise this right constitutes a threat. The article compared China's Djibouti base to overseas bases belonging to the U.S.

"Even if China wanted set up overseas bases for military purposes, the bases would still be in line with China's peaceful strategy of non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs … We will work to guarantee that our base is just and legitimate," the article promised.

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