Beijing: China on Thursday downplayed as "meaningless" reports that the USD 10 billion port it is planning to build in Tanzania has military purposes.
"The port in the Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo is a Sino-Tanzanian joint business project and any attempt to hype up its military purpose is meaningless", state-run Xinhua news agency quoted China`s Defence Spokesman Yang Yujun as saying.
His comments came in response to media reports on the joint development agreement signed during the just concluded visit of China`s new President Xi Jinping`s visit to Tanzania, and China`s reported intentions that the port will serve both military and civilian purposes and allow its naval vessels to berth there for replenishment.
"The project serves the shared interests of both peoples and is conducive to regional prosperity and development," Yang said.
According to international conventions, the vessels of any given country may berth at any other countries` ports as long as consent is obtained from the relevant country, Xinhua quoted him as saying.
China asserts that it has no policy to maintain overseas military bases and has been funding and developing ports in several countries including, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Seychelles, which it asserts as joint projects to help develop those countries.