Anti-piracy drill held

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

CHI­NESE naval forces in­volved in anti-piracy pa­trols in the Gulf of Aden have held their first joint drill with Nato ships car­ry­ing out the same mis­sion, China’s de­fence min­istry said yes­ter­day, as China seeks a greater global se­cu­rity role.

The ex­er­cise hap­pened on Wed­nes­day, the min­istry said in a state­ment, show­ing pic­tures of Chi­nese and Nato of­fi­cers chat­ting on the bridge of a ship, and sim­u­lat­ing a com­mando raid.

The ex­er­cise will help im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween ships on anti-piracy du­ties so that China and Nato can to­gether main­tain mar­itime se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity in the Gulf of Aden, the min­istry added. It gave no other de­tails.

China, whose merchant ships and oil tankers are heavy users of the wa­ters off Ye­men and So­ma­lia, has been an en­thu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pant in the anti-piracy pa­trols.

Ear­lier this year Chi­nese war­ships in the area helped evac­u­ate peo­ple from Ye­men’s civil war.

China has been try­ing to as­sume a more proac­tive for­eign se­cu­rity pol­icy, as it seeks to take on a greater global role com­men­su­rate with its po­si­tion as the world’s sec­ond largest econ­omy.

This week, China said it was in talks with the Horn of Africa coun­try Dji­bouti to build lo­gis­tics “fa­cil­i­ties” to sup­port Chi­nese peace­keep­ing and anti-piracy mis­sions.

In an ef­fort to dampen fears about Chi­nese plans con­nected to its in­creas­ingly mod­ern and con­fi­dent mil­i­tary, Beijing has re­peat­edly said it does not want mil­i­tary bases abroad.

How­ever, ex­perts have said China is likely one day to have to over­come its dis­com­fort about over­seas mil­i­tary bases, as its forces are drawn into pro­tect­ing its grow­ing over­seas in­ter­ests. – Reuters

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