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China has no plans for African Navy base

BEIJING, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The Chinese government says its Navy does not need a supply base in the Gulf of Aden to support ships operating against Somali pirates.

The Defense Ministry responded to a recommendation from Yin Zhou, a retired admiral now working at the Navy's Equipment Research Center, China Daily reported. In a brief statement, the ministry said at-sea supply and the use of bases set up by other countries is sufficient.

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In an interview earlier this week, Yin said other countries involved in escorting ships to protect them from pirates would have no objections to a Chinese base.

"We are not saying we need our navy everywhere in order to fulfill our international commitments," Yin said Tuesday. "We are saying to fulfill our international commitments, we need to strengthen our supply capacity."

In 2009, China deployed four flotillas to the Horn of Africa. One spent 124 days at sea without docking while the others used a French supply base.

A BBC report said hints of a more aggressive Chinese Navy tend to make other countries nervous. China last operated off East Africa in the 15th century when a fleet of warships visited the region under the Ming Dynasty.

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