Beijing: A top Chinese naval official has
proposed setting up a permanent base to support ships on an
anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, raising the idea that
China could build foreign bases elsewhere.
In an interview posted on the defence ministry website,
Yin Zhuo -- an admiral and senior researcher at the navy`s
Equipment Research Centre -- said such a base would bolster
China`s long-term participation in the operation.
"We are not saying we need our navy everywhere in order
to fulfil our international commitments," Yin said.
"We are saying to fulfil our international commitments,
we need to strengthen our supply capacity."
Yin`s proposal, posted on Tuesday, came after a Chinese
cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates
on Monday, following the payment of USD 3.5-million ransom to
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 been allowed to dock and
resupply at a French naval base. The United States, European
Union and Japan all have supply bases in the region, he said.