China Plans to Send Three Warships to Somalia to Combat Pirates

China will send three warships to the waters offshore Somalia to fight pirates attacking vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

China’s Ministry of Defense will send two destroyers and a supply ship to the Gulf, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, citing Liu Jianchao, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. The vessels will depart from Sanya in China’s southern province of Hainan on Dec. 26. Pirates in the area have increased attacks on ships using the Suez Canal, and vessels transporting oil from Sudan and Saudi Arabia to China. The United Nations on Dec. 16 authorized a resolution that allows governments to pursue the brigands into inland Somalia. “Chinese naval vessels will strictly follow UN Security Council resolutions and international laws,” Xinhua cited Liu as saying. Somali pirates have attacked about 120 boats in the region this year, seizing at least 40 vessels and collecting more than $120 million in ransoms. Some 20 percent of Chinese ships passing through the area between January and November were attacked by pirates, Xinhua reported. China’s ships will join vessels from the European Union, which on Dec. 8 approved sending a naval force to the area, the 27-nation organization’s first such mission.

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