China says it is planning to construct global “support facilities” in more countries, after starting to construct a logistics center in the African country of Djibouti.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement during a news conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament meeting on Tuesday.
“We are willing to, in accordance with objective needs, respond to the wishes of host nations and in regions where China’s interests are concentrated, try out the construction of some infrastructure facilities and support abilities,” he said.
Last month, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Beijing had started construction on the base in Djibouti, which is seeking to become a shipping hub.
Djibouti, which is located at the southern entrance of the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal, also hosts American and French bases.
South China Sea shipping lane
Elsewhere in his Tuesday remarks, Wang described the South China Sea as one of the world’s safest and freest shipping lanes, saying Beijing was the first to “explore, name, develop, and administer” islands in the region.
The South China Sea has become a source of tension between China, the US, and some regional countries seeking control of trade routes and mineral deposits there.
The Chinese foreign minister also accused Japan of constantly seeking to instigate tension in the region.
Relations between China and Japan have soured in the past years over a territorial row on an uninhabited yet strategically-important island group in the East China Sea.
Tensions grew after Tokyo nationalized part of the resource-rich islands in 2012.
“Thanks to the efforts of wise people on both sides, there are signs of improvement in the China-Japan relations, but there is little ground for optimism,” Wang said.
He said the Japanese government and leaders say nice things about wanting to improve relations on the one hand, but on the other they “create troubles for China at every turn.”
“This is what I would call a typical case of being two faced.”
China has been expanding its presence and capacity to respond to what it calls growing threats against its interests.
The country is also reforming its military by investing in submarines and aircraft carriers as the country’s navy is becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.