BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's navy is confident in its task to patrol the seas off the Somali coast, a senior navy officer said here on Tuesday.
Two missile destroyers and a support vessel will leave Sanya in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan on Friday to join the growing number of international warships fighting piracy off the east African nation's coast.
"We don't have any insurmountable obstacles in patrolling this area," Senior Col. Ma Luping, director of the navy operational bureau under the Headquarters of the General Staff, told reporters.
He said that the vessels might encounter complicated problems during the mission as "the area is far from the Chinese mainland and the situation there is rather complicated.
"But there is nothing we cannot overcome ... we are confident and capable of fulfilling the task," he said at a news briefing held by the Ministry of Defense.
The two destroyers and the supply vessel will cruise through the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, the Indian Ocean and reach their destination about ten days after their departure.
Ma said the navy's main task is to protect the safety of Chinese ships and crews, including those from Taiwan, as well as ships carrying humanitarian relief material for international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Program.
"Normally, we will not enter other countries territorial waters to battle pirates."
Piracy along the Somali coast is a threat to international shipping.
Ships registered in China or owned by Chinese companies have been attacked by pirates off the Somali coast seven times this year. Last Wednesday, the crew of a Chinese cargo ship fought off pirates in the Gulf of Aden with the help of international forces.
According to the International Maritime Organization, more than120 acts of piracy have occurred in Somali waters, involving more than 30 vessels and 600 crew members.
Xiao Xinnian, deputy chief of staff of the navy force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said the decision to dispatch warships on patrol mission "showcased China's positive attitude in fulfilling its international obligations and the country's image as a responsible power.
"It also shows the positive role of the PLA in maintaining world stability and peace as well as the PLA navy's confidence and capability of handling multiple security threats and fulfilling diverse military tasks," he said.
It is estimated that there are about 1,000 pirates in 25 to 30 groups in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.
Xiao said special troops will be on the warships, which are equipped with missiles, artillery and two helicopters.
"Commanders and soldiers on the three warships are well-trained and they have trained specially for the task," Xiao said. "It will be no problem for them to perform that task."
The vessels will carry most of their own supplies, stopping at some regional ports over the longer term. "We are consulting with relevant countries about the issue," Xiao said.
So far the United States, NATO and other military forces have sent naval forces to the area.
Huang Xueping, spokesman of the Ministry of Defense, said China welcomes international cooperation in fighting Somali pirates.
"China is ready to exchange information and cooperate with the warships of other countries in performing humanitarian rescue tasks," he said.
The United States is pleased with China's move. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton said earlier the United States welcomed China's move.
Huang said China is ready to cooperate with the U.S. military. Bilateral military ties suffered setbacks after the United States announced a weapons sale to Taiwan in October.
The United Nations Security Council last week
unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the international community to take
an active part in the fight against piracy off the Somali
UN hails naval escorting operations by
China in Gulf of Aden, Somali
¡¡UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) --
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the UN Security Council,
Neven Jurica ofCroatia, Monday both extended their welcome to China's decision
to dispatch Chinese naval ships for escorting operations in the Gulf of Aden and
Somali waters, saying the Chinese move is a strong support for the global
efforts to fight pirates there, a Chinese envoy said here. Full story
China decides to send navy vessels to
fight pirates off Somali
BEIJING, Dec. 20
(Xinhua) -- China has announced that its naval deployment to the seas off
Somalia to fight pirates will be of three vessels.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao confirmed on
Saturday evening that the taskforce would consist of three vessels, and would
patrol the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. Full story
Chinese ship rescued from attack by pirates in Gulf of
A sailor is ready to defend from
pirates' attacks on the deck of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua 4" in the Gulf
of Aden, on Dec. 17, 2008. The Chinese ship escaped pirate hijack in the
Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, after the crew fought for four hours with the
help of a multi-coalition force. No injuries or deaths were reported. Nine
pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the
ship. The 30 crew members locked themselves in their accommodation area,
using fire hydrants and firebombs to prevent the attackers from entering,
said an official with China Maritime Search and Rescue Center
(CMSRC). (Xinhua Photo)
NAIROBI, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A regional maritime official
confirmed on Wednesday that an international naval force rescued a Chinese ship
from nine Somali pirates in the latest surge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
Andrew Mwangura, East Africa's Coordinator of Seafarers
Assistance Program (SAP) said the crew on the Chinese MV Zhen Hua-4 had locked
themselves in their cabins and radioed for help. Full story
Chinese ship escapes pirate hijack in
Gulf of Aden
BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese ship escaped pirate
hijack in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, after the crew fought for four hours
with the help of a multi-coalition force. No injuries or deaths were reported.
The ship "Zhenhua 4" is owned by China Communications
Construction Co. and is registered in Saint Vincent. The company lost contact
with the sailors after the ship was attacked by pirates at 12:43 p.m. (Beijing
time). Full story
China ship rescued after pirates'
forced retreat in Gulf of Aden
BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese ship was rescued
after multi-national soldiers forced retreat of pirates in the Gulf of Aden at
16:45 (Beijing time) on Wednesday.
The multi-national forces used helicopters for the rescue
operation. Full story
China ship attacked by pirates in Gulf
of Aden, 30 sailors unconnected
BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A ship owned by China
Communications Construction Co. was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden at
12:43 p.m. (Beijing time) on Wednesday.
Thirty Chinese sailors were aboard the ship, "Zhenhua 4",
that was registered in Saint Vincent. The company has lost contacts with the
sailors and their conditions were unknown. Full story
Somalia welcomes Chinese naval
deployment off its coast
MOGADISHU, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Somalia on Wednesday
welcomed China's announcement that it was seriously considering sending naval
ships to Somali waters to fight rampant piracy.
"As a friend of the Somali people and victim of the piracy
menace," China can play a vital role in combating the scourge off Somali waters,
said Somalia's Parliament Speaker Sheik Aden Madoobe. Full story