In an uncharacteristic move, the Chinese government is considering sending navy warships off the coast of Somalia in an effort to combat pirate attacks against ships, including some of their own. From the Los Angeles Times:
China’s deputy foreign minister, He Yafei, was quoted by the state news agency as saying that China was “seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future.”
The remarks during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council were the first by a senior Chinese official confirming widespread speculation the last few weeks.
The state-controlled press has been rallying support recently for such a mission with editorials that refer to China’s “responsibility” as well as to what the English-language China Daily called an opportunity to “get into the thick of the action.” An online poll published by the newspaper today reported that 90% of respondents supported the mission.