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China Considers Seychelles Naval Port Offer

The Spanish fishing boat Alakrana (R) approaches port Victoria, on the Seychelles island of Mahe. (File Photo)

China says it may use the Seychelles to rest and resupply its navy ships while they carry out anti-piracy missions.

The statement from the Chinese Defense Ministry late Monday was in response to an offer extended by the Seychellois government last week.

Some media reports said the Seychelles was offering to host a Chinese military base. The Defense Ministry said Seychelles invited China's navy to resupply and recuperate in the country during escort missions.

A report in the state-run China Daily newspaper quoted military experts who stressed Chinese use of the Seychelles would not equate to establishing military bases.

Pirates from Somalia have frequently attacked ships near the Seychelles, an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa.

International naval forces, including Chinese ships, are patrolling the waters near Somalia in an effort to stop the attacks.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said it is international practice for naval fleets to resupply at foreign ports during long-distance missions. It says Chinese ships have resupplied at harbors in Djibouti, Oman, and Yemen since the country sent its first convoy to the Gulf of Aden in 2008.