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Thread: China may build Middle East naval base

  1. #1
    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    China may build Middle East naval base

    This if built will be at the Gulf of Aden.

    China may build Middle East naval base
    China's rapidly-expanding navy is considering building its first foreign naval base, according to a senior admiral.


    30 Dec [Telegraph] In a sign of the growing confidence of the Chinese military, Admiral Yin Zhuo said that the country may set up a base in the Gulf of Aden in order to support missions against Somali pirates.

    Since the end of last year, China has sent four flotillas to the Middle East in order to take part in anti-piracy operations together with US, European, Indian and Russian warships. The latest mission, which departed from China in October, involved two missile frigates.

    Mr Yin said a permanent base in the region would help supply Chinese ships. "We are not saying we need our navy everywhere in order to fulfil our international commitments," he said, cautiously. "We are saying to fulfil our international commitments, we need to strengthen our supply capacity." ....

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    As posted on the Chinese defense ministry website, the Chinese PLAN is floating the idea of an overseas naval base to support its anti-pirate mission in the Gulf of Aden. The lack of an overseas naval base caused hardships and supply problems during the PLAN’s first anti-pirate tour where the Chinese flotilla made no port call in over four months.

    While the English report did not specify where the PLAN might setup a this base, the Chinese source mentioned Djibouti as a possible candidate as suggested by Rear Admiral Yin Zhou during a recent interview. (here) It is no coincidence that the Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs is visiting China today to "push forward friendly cooperation in various sectors and advance bilateral relations into a new level." (here)

    Back on December 12, 2008, the PLAN first publicly acknowledged that they were "debating" a possible anti-pirate mission to the Gulf of Aden, (here) and their first flotilla was already gearing up for the tour. During that debate, Professor Jin Canrong of Renmin University told China Daily that “sending naval vessels to the waters off Somalia may raise some concerns and provide ammunition to the ‘China threat’ demagogues." One year later, the Chinese anti-pirate mission to the Gulf of Aden has generally been well-received. How the world will react to an overseas PLAN naval base in Djibouti is largely dependent on what type of base it will be. Will it be a simple supply depot or one with full faculty, armed guards and C3I?

    All your base are belong to me.



    Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahamoud Ali Youssouf in Beijing, Dec. 29, 2009. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)





    Wednesday, December 30, 2009; 3:02 AM

    washingtonpost.com

    BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese rear admiral has urged the nation to set up navy supply bases overseas in an interview posted on the Ministry of Defense website after China paid ransom to free a ship held for nine weeks by Somali pirates.

    China has operated patrols for a year now in the narrow Gulf of Aden, escorting Chinese and foreign ships through waters menaced by pirates operating off the Somali coast.

    But coal and ore shipping lanes off the east coast of Africa have proved harder to defend. The De Xin Hai, captured 700 nautical miles east of Somalia in October, was ransomed for $4 million on Sunday.

    Reflecting on the hardships endured by the Chinese patrol ships in the anti-piracy effort, Rear Admiral Yin Zhou floated the idea of bases abroad to support the vessels. (http://news.mod.gov.cn)

    "This is entirely a matter for the country's foreign policy circles, but I feel that would be appropriate if we could have a relatively stable, fixed base for supplies and maintenance," said Yin, who is director of an advisory committee for the Chinese navy's drive to upgrade information technology.

    "I think countries near any relatively long-term supply bases established by China, and other countries participating in the escort mission, could understand," he said, adding that would be more affordable than re-supplying via ship on the high seas.

    Asian neighbors have been monitoring China's international deployments for signs of the country's rising global status translating into a more assertive foreign policy and presence.

    China has never renounced the use of force to bring self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which it considers sovereign territory, under its rule, and increased Chinese military activity around a series of disputed atolls and rocks in the South China Sea has worried Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, which have their own territorial claims.

    The Chinese navy did not call at any port during the four months of its first mission to the waters off Somalia, creating problems with straining supplies, medical care and homesickness for sailors unable to communicate with their families, the interview and other media reports have noted.

    The anti-piracy mission off Somalia has been the first such long-distance projection of Chinese naval power since the Ming dynasty, 600 years ago.

    Chinese ships communicated with ships operating under a multi-national anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden, but did not formally cooperate with them. The deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, Commodore Tim Lowe, suggested China could co-lead the grouping next year.

    Yin did not suggest where the base would be. But the China Daily on Tuesday ran an interview with the Somali ambassador to China, asking for international assistance in building a coast guard.

    (Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    Gosh! Djibouti is in a most strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea, opposite Yemen and next to Somalia.

    This small country seems to be in good terms with France and the US.

    I think the US already has a military base there. But this should be all right for China to set up a Naval base there as well.

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    Senior Contributor kuku's Avatar
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    Till then they could just use some other nations port to base their ships and airplanes.

    or are they doing that already?
    cheers

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    China's managed to keep Gwadar Port under the radar. They’re planning a similar development for Jazan in Saudi Arabia.

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    China rules out overseas naval base now
    By Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)
    Updated: 2010-01-01 08:23

    China rules out overseas naval base now

    China will stick to its current supply regime to support anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, responding to an admiral's suggestion that Beijing set up a permanent base in the region.

    Experts said an overseas supply base might be an option in the future, but is not an urgent issue now.

    "Some countries have set up overseas supply bases (but) the Chinese fleet is currently supplied at sea and through regular docking (in the Gulf of Aden region)," said a ministry statement faxed to China Daily.

    The statement was in response to an outspoken retired admiral, Yin Zhuo, who said setting up a base would bolster China's long-term participation in the operations.

    "We are not saying we need our navy everywhere in order to fulfill our international commitments," Yin, now a senior researcher at the navy's Equipment Research Centre, said in an interview published on Tuesday. "We are saying to fulfill our international commitments, we need to strengthen our supply capacity."

    Yin's proposal came after a Chinese cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates on Monday.

    China has sent four flotillas to the region since the end of last year, with the first escort fleet spending 124 days at sea without docking, Yin said - a length of time that added to the challenges of the operation.

    Since then, Chinese vessels have docked at a French naval base for supplies. The United States, the European Union and Japan have supply bases in the region, Yin pointed out.

    "If China establishes a similar long-term supply base, I believe that the nations in the region and the other countries involved with the (anti-pirate) escorts would understand," he said.

    Still, his suggestion has evoked wide international concern.

    The BBC said "other countries have been closely monitoring China's international deployments for signs of increasing assertiveness in its foreign defense policy."

    The report said the Chinese navy "has not been in this part of the world (the Gulf of Aden)" since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    During the 15th Century, Chinese vessels reached the East African coast, visiting Mogadishu and Malindi in Somalia and Kenya, even taking back a giraffe and a zebra as souvenirs.

    Yin's proposal raises "the idea that China could build foreign bases elsewhere", AFP said in a report.

    But Jin Canrong, an international relations expert at Renmin University of China, said Beijing has yet to seriously consider setting up a permanent overseas supply base. He said it's unnecessary to "play up the personal view of Yin, a retired admiral".

    Jin, however, said the possibility of setting up such a base should not be ruled out.

    "China's national interests have extended beyond its border, so it's necessary to have strong ability to protect them," he added.

    Li Jie, a senior colonel and researcher with the Chinese Navy's Military Academy, also said Beijing should consider setting up an overseas supply base "in the long run".

    "For many other countries, it's a common way of ensuring naval supplies," Li said. Such a base, "not a military one", would not only ease supply but also provide a venue for naval personnel to take a break.

    But an overseas base could only be set up "within the UN framework and concurrence of surrounding countries", he added.
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    Regular kualaws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
    Gosh! Djibouti is in a most strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea, opposite Yemen and next to Somalia.

    This small country seems to be in good terms with France and the US.

    I think the US already has a military base there. But this should be all right for China to set up a Naval base there as well.
    if US has established a base in Djibouti, how comes it doesn't set up obstacles for Chinese military base? i don't think Uncle Sam will welcome a Chinese navy base nearby.

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    Senior Contributor kuku's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kualaws View Post
    if US has established a base in Djibouti, how comes it doesn't set up obstacles for Chinese military base? i don't think Uncle Sam will welcome a Chinese navy base nearby.
    Perhaps they might, if PLAN works together with them, provides more ships to deal with piracy and terrorism threats, serves just about every nation well,

    With the dependence on so many communication technologies, will the difference in hardware and language pose any troubles in operating together? or will e mails or some sort of naval gtalk be the way to go?
    cheers

  9. #9
    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    I agree there would be some difficulty now if China were to set up a military base near an US military base. At the high level they would co-operate, but there may be ugly scenes between groups of personnel when outside the bases, especially after a drink.

    Anyway, the naval base was just a proposal mentioned by a retired Chinese admiral. This proposal is not going ahead.

    Perhaps in ten years time, there may be some possibility China and the US set up military bases not far from each other.

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