1st Overseas Naval Logistics Support Outpost in Djibouti Will Help PLAN
China's first overseas naval logistics support outpost-expected to be
built in Djibouti-is needed to handle difficulties encountered by Chinese
peacekeeping fleets, the Foreign Ministry told China Daily on Thursday.
The ministry's remarks came after senior Djibouti officials and Chinese
experts said some media reports about the outpost had been unnecessarily
PLAN sailors on watch aboard PLAN's Type 071 amphibious landing ship
Changbaishan during an escort mission in the Gulf of Aden,
Aug 26, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh was quoted by Reuters on Wednesday
as saying that China was expected to start work on the facility soon.
The Foreign Ministry said China had sent escort fleets
to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia in recent years, and these fleets
had experienced difficulties that affected the "rest and
reorganization of servicemen and the supply of oil".
"It (the outpost) is essential to implement
highly efficient logistical support," the ministry said.
In December, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed
that China and Djibouti had reached agreement on the outpost. Military
bases and support facilities for countries including the United States
and France have long been based in Djibouti.
Djibouti's Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf
told Reuters, "We understand that some Western countries have
worries about China's willingness to have military outposts outside
of China." He said that Western countries should not be concerned.
Djibouti is a pivotal country in the Horn of Africa
standing between the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. It is a key transfer
stop for international humanitarian missions, including those of the
Yin Zhuo, director of the People's Liberation Army
Navy's Expert Consultation Committee, estimated that a Chinese fleet
patrolling waters in the region has to feed about 800 staff members
every day. A single mission, which lasts on average for 120 days,
places a huge demand on food and water supplies.
Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval
Military Studies Research Institute, said Djibouti is one of the closest
major ports to Somalia. Its peaceful environment makes it an ideal
place to host China's support facility.
Zhang said the outpost that China is expected to build
there is designed to provide food, water and oil. It would be totally
different from US military bases, which supply weaponry, Zhang added.
Djibouti's strategic importance and logistical convenience
were highlighted last year when Chinese citizens evacuated from Yemen
While meeting with Djibouti's President Guelleh in
Johannesburg in December, President Xi Jinping said China appreciated
Djibouti's help in supporting Chinese peacekeeping fleets and in evacuating
Chinese citizens from Yemen.