Chinese Ships Join Pirate Hunt
Three Chinese ships will join the ships of several nations including the United States off the coast of Somalia trying to stem the outbreak of piracy in the region:
BEIJING (AFP) — An anti-piracy task force of the Chinese navy set sail on Friday for Africa, in the nation’s first potential combat mission beyond its territorial waters in centuries.
The three vessels, decorated with coloured ribbons and flowers, weighed anchor at the Yalong Bay naval base on south China’s tropical Hainan island at 1:50 pm (0550 GMT), heading for Somalia, the Xinhua news agency reported.
“It’s the first time we go abroad to protect our strategic interests armed with military force,” said Wu Shengli, commander of the Chinese Navy, in a ceremony to see off the approximately 1,000 sailors, according to Xinhua.
“It’s the first time for us to organise a naval force on an international humanitarian mission and the first time for our navy to protect important shipping lanes far from our shores.”
The ships include two Luhai-class multi-role destroyers and one supply ship. Deployment of the Chinese navy in action far from home waters is an historic development—it’s been five hundred years since a Chinese ship has fired a shot in anger in African waters.
I see China’s increasing willingness to participate in global security operations as a positive development. Others, who see China as more of a threat to U. S. interests than I do, may interpret this differently.