31 Dec 2009

Chinese navy officer proposes base in Gulf of Aden

4:15 pm on 31 December 2009

A senior Chinese naval officer has proposed that China establish a permanent naval base in the Gulf of Aden to support Chinese ships taking part in anti-piracy operations.

The suggestion, by Rear Admiral Yin Zhou, was made during an interview on state radio on Tuesday. A transcript was later published on the Ministry of Defence website.

China currently has no overseas navy bases, but the BBC reports there are calls in the media and web forums for this to change.

Rear Admiral Yin said other nations were unlikely to object. He offered no suggestion on where such a base should be located.

A Chinese cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates on Monday, amid reports that a ransom of $US4 million had been paid to their kidnappers.

The Chinese navy has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden for more than a year, protecting cargo vessels threatened by pirates based in Somalia.