The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is to build 18 naval bases in various regions in the next 10 years including in Sri Lanka, a media report said.
The Namibian newspaper quoting Chinese media reports said Hambantota Port is among the three navel bases that will be established in the northern Indian Ocean.
However Sri Lanka’s defence ministry refuted reports that claimed China is planning to establish a naval base in Sri Lanka.
The full text of the news report published by The Namibian newspaper is reproduced below.
Chinese naval base for Walvis Bay
DISCUSSIONS are under way at the ‘highest levels’ regarding plans by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy to build a base at Walvis Bay in the next 10 years.
According to reports in the Chinese media, Walvis Bay will be one of 18 naval bases that will be established in various regions: Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mynanmar in the northern Indian Ocean; Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the western Indian Ocean; and Seychelles and Madagascar in the central South Indian Ocean.
“These three strategic lines will further enhance China’s effectiveness in taking responsibility for maintaining the safety of international maritime routes thereby maintaining regional and world stability,” the media reports said.
Other naval bases are: 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) and Luanda Port (Angola).
Ministry of Defence spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Monica Sheya confirmed these reports to The Namibian yesterday, saying that once a decision is made, the ministry will inform the nation.
“We have read about it. I believe it is being discussed at the higher levels, but that’s all I can say now. Once a decision has been made, we will be sure to inform the nation about it, but we cannot say more yet,” Sheya said.
China plans to build replenishment, berthing and maintenance bases in foreign countries through mutually beneficial and friendly consultations. Furthermore, the reports state that the Chinese navy will not establish “US-style” military bases, yet it will not exclude the establishment of a number of so-called ‘Overseas Strategic Support Bases’ in accordance with prevailing international rules.
China has several major infrastructure development and resource extraction interests in Namibia. It also has a satellite tracking station near Swakopmund.
The decision for strengthening China’s national armed forces in line with the country’s international standing to meet the needs of its security and development interests, was taken at the Chinese Communist Party congress.
China’s navy boasts of a personnel strength of 255 000 servicemen and women, including 10 000 marines and 26 000 naval air force personnel. It is the second largest navy in the world in terms of tonnage, behind only the United States Navy, and has the largest number of major combatants of any navy