Friday, November 13, 2009

China To Play Greater Part In Combating Somali Pirates

Country to Hold Co-Chair on Cooperation Council
Shipping News Feature

CHINA / SOMALIA – Following on from last week’s calling of an emergency meeting by the Chinese to discuss how to deal with the problem of piracy in the West Indian Ocean comes news that the conference seems to have created a new depth of cooperation within the international naval community to address the issue.

In an announcement today on the results of the Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) conference held in Beijing, the deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, Commodore Tim Lowe, said that from next year China will take a bigger part in coordinating operations by becoming a co-chair along with the European Union.

Chinese naval spokesmen have also made plain that they intend to increase their role in protecting shipping in the region. Liang Wei, the deputy chief of operations for the South Fleet of the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) said that: “China, as a large and strong country, must be able to protect its own ships. We can definitely do this, but if we can enhance international cooperation, this will help improve regional peace and safety.”

Senior Captain Hu Gangfeng, deputy-director of the Naval Bureau, made an interesting statement on the growing recognition that China needs to play an increasing part in global security with: “We have to fulfil our international obligations and act as a responsible country internationally.”

It now remains to be seen whether this new spirit of cooperation can start to bring the problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean under control which, as previously reported, is reaching new heights.