Headline News


China decides to send navy vessels to fight pirates off Somali coast

Source: Xinhua | 12-21-2008 09:38

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.

The Ministry of Defence said the taskforce would consist of two destroyers and a supply ship, and will leave Sanya of southern Hainan Province on Dec. 26.

Their major task is to protect the safety of Chinese ships and crew on board as well as ships carrying humanitarian relief material for the international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Programme, Liu said.

Ships registered in China or owned by Chinese companies had been attacked by pirates off the Somali coast this year, he said.

China was acting in accord with United Nations resolutions, he said.

So far the United States, NATO and other countries have already sent naval forces to ply this area.

"Chinese naval vessels will strictly follow U.N. Security Council resolutions and international laws. They are willing to work with other countries and to take part in humanitarian relief tasks," Liu said.

At a press conference Thursday, Liu said 20 percent of Chinese ships passing through the waters off the Somali coast have been attacked by pirates from January to November this year.

He told the press that seven ships, either owned by China or carrying Chinese cargo and crew, had been hijacked and one fishing boat, with a crew of 18, was still held by pirates.

"We will continue working with armed forces of other countries to improve cooperation in various fields including safeguarding the international maritime sea lanes and enhance joint actions against new challenges and threats," said the defense ministry.


Editor:Du Xiaodan