Source: CNR.CN

12-08-2008 17:20

Jin Yinan, deputy director of the Department of Strategic Teaching and Research, National Defense University, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies, major general of the People´s Liberation Army
Jin Yinan, deputy director of the Department of Strategic Teaching and Research,
National Defense University, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies, 
major general of the People´s Liberation Army

It was originally thought that pirates only existed hundreds of years ago, or as characters in American blockbusters, but in recent years, Somali pirates have reincarnated them and become a major focus in world media.

From hijacking four ships within 48 hours in August 2008, hijacking a Ukrainian ammunition ship carrying 33 main combat tanks in September, to holding Saudi Arabian oil tanker "Sirius Star" under duress not long ago, these pirates have turned Somalia, the "Horn of Africa", into a paradise for them.

What is the deep-seated reason for the Somali piracy problem? Should China dispatch the navy to ensure marine security? What would actually be the result if military means are adopted to solve the Somali piracy problem? What constraints will China face if it sends the navy? Jin Yinan, deputy director of the Department of Strategic Teaching and Research at the National Defense University, director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies, and major general of the People´s Liberation Army, accepted an exclusive interview with Sun Li, reporter from the Central People´s Broadcasting Station.

Major General Jin Yinan believed that the Somali piracy is a typical terrorist act, and to crack down on piracy we must seek both temporary and permanent solutions. Therefore, the Chinese navy should be sent to combat piracy in Somalia. With regard to sending the navy, China should not take too much into account the economic cost that would be incurred, but keep in mind China’s political image. In setting out on a combat mission, the Chinese Navy will not only gain experience in combating pirates, but also build up blue water combat mission capabilities. Deploying the Chinese navy will help restore the world’s confidence in shipping.

Viewpoint: Piracy is a typical terrorist act

Reporter: Recently, the rampant piracy in Somalia posed a severe challenge to the safety of ocean transportation for countries worldwide. The "Tianyu 8" vessel from the Tianjin Ocean Fishing Corporation was hijacked by the Somali pirates in Kenyan waters on November 14, and 25 sailors, including 17 Chinese on board, were taken hostages. On November 15, the Somali pirates easily hijacked the world´s largest tanker - Saudi Arabia’s "Sirius Star." On November 18, a cargo ship from Hong Kong SAR was hijacked by the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. According to incomplete statistics, in 2008, the Somali pirates have hijacked 97 vessels from all over the world, and are still detaining more than 30 of them. These pirates have repeatedly claimed that their action is different from terrorism in that they are not doing it for political purposes but only for money. How do you define the nature of the Somali piracy?

Jin Yinan: The world public is highly concerned about the hostage incidents taken place near the waters of the Gulf of Aden. There is no doubt that the Somali piracy should be categorized as “terrorist act,” because the pirates, like the terrorists, do not have a set target, they just kidnap innocent civilians and take them as hostages and try to get their ransom through endangering the hostages’lives.

As you’ve just said, Somali piracy is quite different from the epidemic of international terrorism in that it has no definite political purpose, does not aim to overthrow or establish anything, but is simply for the specific purpose of making money. But why are the Somali pirates trying so hard to draw the line between themselves and terrorists? As nations of the world have reached a high consensus on anti-terrorism, these pirates are trying hard to draw a line between their activities and the terrorist acts, so as to evade heavy damage. However, as we have witnessed, the eventual results of the acts by either the Somali pirates or the terrorists are the same. As the Somali pirates adopt the same methods as the terrorists’, their acts still fall under terrorism.