China's Djibouti base not for military expansion
The support base China has just opened in Africa, which is meant for supply missions, is not a military outpost built to boost the country's military presence and play deterrent roles in the region.
Ships carrying Chinese military personnel depart Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, July 11, 2017. They are to set up a support base in Djibouti. [Photo: Xinhua]
As the country's first overseas base ever, the Djibouti base, which was set up on Tuesday, has attracted attention worldwide.
But in the meantime, it also seems to give rise to certain concerns as some foreign media described the Djibouti base as a military outpost of China in the Indian Ocean to serve its interests in a big power competition.
Such interpretations or concerns about the base are completely unfounded.
The Djibouti base has nothing to do with an arms race or military expansion, and China has no intention of turning the logistics center into a military foothold.
As some political analysts have said, the significance of China's move to establish a base in Africa should not be underestimated, nor should it be exaggerated.
As a matter of fact, China would become only the latest nation to establish a base in Djibouti, which has already hosted a large U.S. military base as well as French and Japanese military installations.
Therefore, China's base should not be considered as a threat given that all those countries already have their own naval facilities in the region.
The base has not been established for China's strategic deployment of military forces, but for implementing the country's escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid missions in Africa and West Asia.
As the country's foreign ministry has said, China has deployed vessels to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast on escort missions since 2008. During the process of escorting, the Chinese officers and men face many difficulties in replenishing food and fuel, and Djibouti offered logistical support in multiple instances.
Facing a daunting task of domestic governance and economic growth, China has remained down-to-earth and pragmatic, and the last thing it needs is ill will and groundless speculation.
The ultimate purpose of China's efforts in enhancing its military strength is to ensure its own security, instead of pursuing hegemony or seeking to police the world. Bearing that in mind, the rest of the world will find its communication with China can become much more effective.