Gulf of Aden to combat a wave of piracy that has disrupted international shipping.warned on Tuesday it was prepared to use force when its navy ships arrive in the
Two Chinese destroyers and a supply ship set sail on Friday — the first time in recent history that the nation has deployed ships on a potential combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.
“(If) our naval vessels are ambushed by pirate ships we will resolutely fight back to protect our own safety,” Rear Admiral Xiao Xinnian said in a briefing to reporters.
By Robert J. Saiget
Outside the Ministry of National Defense in Beijing where on December 23 China warned Somali pirates against attacking warships it plans to send to the Gulf of Aden, saying it was well prepared to interdict any potential piracy attempts in international waters.(AFP/Frederic J. Brown)
“If the act of piracy is already under way and the pirates are already robbing other civilian vessels, we will suppress their acts, provided we have the capability and conditions to do so.”
Xiao, who also serves as navy deputy chief of staff, said the Chinese ships would mainly be charged with protecting the nation’s commercial vessels as well as the ships of such as the United Nations World Food Programme.
About 100 ships — seven of them Chinese — have been attacked by Somali pirates since the beginning of the year. At least one Chinese vessel is believed still to be in the hands of the attackers.
Above: Missile Destroyer Haikou 171 of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea Fleet is seen in this undated file photo. China’s navy will send two missile destroyers and a supply ship to the waters off Somalia this week to protect Chinese vessels and crews from pirate attacks.