Monday, January 4, 2010

China May Build Foreign Military Base

In a sign that China is seeing itself as a growing world power, the Chinese military is discussing building a permanent naval base in the Middle East. It's a move their admirals say is necessary if China is going to continue to participate in anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.

China joined international efforts at curbing piracy last year. The action was a milestone change in Chinese military planning - it was the first time the navy of the People's Republic had operated so far from Chinese territorial waters and the first time naval vessels from China had engaged in a mission to Africa in 600 years, since the time of the treasure fleets of the Ming Dynasty.

China is currently the world's largest importer of oil, much of it from the Persian Gulf and Africa, so a navy base in the region to protect their energy interests makes strategic sense. But it is also a sure sign of China's growing military clout and desire to be a player in matters of international security, desires that are sure to be met with unease by some other world governments.
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