Friday, February 26, 2016

China builds logistics facilities for troops in Djibouti

(Xinhua)- China has begun construction on logistics facilities in Djibouti to support troops in ships in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast, an official with China's Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.

A deal between China and Djibouti states the facilities will also help Chinese troops carry out international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, Wu Qian, defense ministry spokesperson, told a monthly press briefing Thursday.

China confirmed that it began talks with Djibouti on building logistics facilities in November 2015.

"It is of great significance for the Chinese troops in their performance of international obligations to safeguard international and regional peace and stability," Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in November.

Some Western media have been focusing on China's facilities in Djibouti, and called the facilities China's first overseas "military base," which would help China expand its global influence.

In explaining the reasons for building the facilities, Hong said China encountered real difficulties in replenishing soldiers and resupplying fuel and food, and found it necessary to have nearby and efficient logistical support.

The US and France have military bases in Djibouti, which serve as outposts for their African military strategies.

Relations between China and Djibouti have been improving in recent years. At a  meeting with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh in Johannesburg in December 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to enhance bilateral ties, safeguard regional peace and stability and promote common development.

China has deployed over 60 ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast in 21 escort missions since 2008.