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Monday, January 11, 2010
China may build Middle East naval base - Telegraph
"n 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." His words, which came just a few days after China rescued 25 sailors from Somali pirates, were posted in an interview on the Defence ministry website. China is reported to have paid a USD4 million (Pounds2.5 million) ransom to free the De Xin Hai, a coal carrier. Mr Yin, who is a senior researcher at the navy's Equipment Research centre, pointed out that the first Chinese ships in the Gulf of Aden spent 124 days at sea without docking, a logistical challenge. However, Chinese ships have since been permitted to dock at a French base. "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. "I think a permanent, stable base would be good for our operations.""