Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chinese navy has no plan for overseas bases

Chinese navy has no plan for overseas bases

(Source: Xinhua) 2010-03-12

  BEIJING, Mar. 11 --A stronger Chinese navy will not seek to build military bases overseas, a retired senior officer has said amid media reports that the country harbors such "ambitions".

  Zhang Deshun, who was till recently the deputy chief of staff of the PLA navy, said a naval force with advanced armaments and enhanced capabilities will contribute more to UN-led anti-terrorism, anti-piracy and disaster-relief missions.

  A larger navy with a greater reach does not mean it will seek to play the role of "world police", said the retired rear admiral, who is a deputy to the ongoing session of the National People's Congress.

  "The military's overseas missions, such as the anti-piracy operation, are authorized by the UN. They aim to protect merchant ships and aid vessels as well as their crews from pirates off the Somali coast."

  Last week, an international anti-piracy meeting proposed that the PLA navy escort UN humanitarian aid vessels to Somalia.

  "We have no agenda to set up military establishments, or threaten establishments of other nations overseas," Zhang said, making it clear the PLA navy "has no plans, nor is there a necessity, to establish overseas military bases".

  Several naval deputies to the top legislature also made similar remarks.

  Senior Colonel Yan Baojian, a fleet commander in the South China Sea Fleet, said the navy is capable of operating overseas missions without any military base on foreign soil.

  He said the naval force can work extensively with China's business operations worldwide for military supplies, in addition to advanced supply ships.

  Rear Admiral Cao Dongshen, also a naval commander, said the Chinese navy has no secret agenda on global expansion.

  "The strategy of our naval force is active defense. It is part of the country's development and diplomatic strategy," he said.

  The navy set off on its first major overseas operation in December 2008. During the past 15 months, four fleets have patrolled the sea off the Horn of Africa. En route, they stopped for supplies in several nations including Pakistan, Yemen and Oman.

  By March 8, the fleets had escorted 1,677 Chinese and foreign merchant ships and rescued 23 vessels from pirates' attacks.

  Two combat ships on the fifth mission are expected to reach Somali waters this weekend to continue the operation in collaboration with navies from more than 20 major countries.

  (Source: China Daily)

Editor:Ouyang Dongmei

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