china-navy

In what would be the first active deployment of its warships beyond the Pacific, China appears set to send naval vessels to help in the fight against hijackers in the Gulf of Aden.

A deputy foreign minister and a leading naval strategist were quoted in Chinese state media Wednesday as saying that Beijing was close to sending a naval mission to the gulf.

“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,” said the Foreign Ministry official, He Yafei, as quoted by Xinhua, the official Chinese press agency. His remarks came at a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Li Jie, a military strategist and naval expert, told the state-run China Daily newspaper that cooperating with a multinational force operating against East African pirates would be a “very good opportunity” for the Chinese Navy.

“Apart from fighting pirates,” he said, “another key goal is to register the presence of the Chinese Navy.”

Read at International Herald Tribune