Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chinese paper advises PLA Navy to build overseas military bases

“International Herald Leader”, a Chinese state-run newspaper under Xinhua News Agency, publishes a commentary to advise PLA Navy to build oversea naval bases to protect its energy line in Indian Ocean area.

The article says, as China’s first “Liaoning” aircraft carrier’s service in PLA Navy, along with the successful landing of the J-15 carrier-based fighter, the Chinese navy has become the focus of world attention after 2012. In future, the construction of PLA Navy aircraft carrier battle group will lead the system transformation, warship building, training and naval combat doctrine research. In Hu’s report at 18th Party Congress, he urges to build strong national defense and powerful armed forces that are commensurate with China’s international standing and meet the needs of its security and development interests. In this context, Chinese first aircraft carrier battle group will quickly enter operational stage with the delivery of new guided-missile destroyer, amphibious warship and nuclear submarine.

China believes that a strong naval force can protect its energy line in Indian Ocean area, especially in Strait of Malacca. However, even China has more warships, PLA Navy still can not play a key role in blue water without overseas military bases.

The article mentions that the Chinese navy is not to establish a U.S.-style military bases, but does not exclude the establishment of a number of so-called “Overseas Strategic Support Bases” in accordance with international prevailing rules. China has right to build oversea replenishment, staff rest and berthing-maintenance bases in foreign countries under equality, mutual benefit and friendly consultations.

The article also predicted that in future the Chinese Navy will establish its first batch of support bases in Indian Ocean. The article summarizes that these bases can be divided into three levels: First, ship fuel and material supply bases in peacetime, such as the Port of Djibouti, Aden port of Yemen, and Salalah Port of Oman. The replenishment method is in the light of international business practices; the second is relatively fixed supply bases for warship berthing, fixed-wing reconnaissance aircraft and the naval staff ashore rest, such as the ports of Seychelles. China can build those bases by sign a short-term or medium-term agreement with Seychelles; the third is fully-functional center for replenishment, rest and large warship weapons maintenance, such as in Pakistan under medium-and long-term agreements.

In its conclusion, the article summarizes that in next 10 years China is ultimately expected to have three “life lines”: one is North Indian Ocean supply line which includes bases in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, the second is Western Indian Ocean supply line which includes bases in Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique; the last one is the central-south Indian ocean supply line which includes bases in Seychelles and Madagascar. These three strategic lines will further enhance China’s effective to take responsibility for maintaining the safety of international maritime strategic channel, maintaining regional and world stability responsibilities and capabilities.

Under the prediction of this article, some Chinese people forecast 18 possible overseas bases of PLA Navy, including Chongjin Port (North Korea), Moresby Port (Papua New Guinea),Sihanoukville Port (Cambodia), Koh Lanta Port (Thailand)  Sittwe Port (Myanmar), DHAKA Port (Bangladesh), Gwadar Port (Pakistan), Hambantota Port (Sri Lanka), Maldives, Seychelles, Djibouti Port (Djibouti), Lagos Port (Nigeria), Mombasa Port (Kenya), Dar es Salaam Port (Tanzania), Luanda Port (Angola) and Walvis Bay Port(Namibia).

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