Wednesday, December 17, 2008

China close to naval mission in the Gulf of Aden

International medias reported today that "China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future,” as the Foreign Ministry official, He Yafei said, quoted by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. His remarks came at a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Reuters reported Wednesday that pirates had seized a Chinese fishing vessel off the coast of Yemen. The report said the boat was believed to have a crew of about 30. “If one day the Chinese Navy sends ships to deal with pirates,” he said, “nobody should be shocked.”

About 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and the bulk of that passes through the gulf, along with huge shipments of raw materials out of Africa. Last month, two Chinese ships were hijacked there, a fishing trawler and a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship carrying wheat.

While China has been “quite wary of putting maritime assets in the region and wary of doing anything out in the open,” Chinese diplomats have been active in anti-piracy efforts, according to Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.

Read full article fromNew York Times

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