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Chinese ships combat-ready for pirates

Scott Tong Jan 5, 2009
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Chinese ships combat-ready for pirates

Scott Tong Jan 5, 2009
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Steve Chiotakis: Modern day pirates continue to roam the waters off Somalia.
Just in the new year, they’ve attacked five oil and cargo ships. Experts say the hijackings failed because of extra warships in the region. The U.S. and other allies sent those ships. And tomorrow, China gets into the act. Economically, there’s a lot at stake. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: Three Chinese warships are steaming toward Somalia; it’s the navy’s first combat-ready mission in six centuries. Beijing took notice in November, when pirates hijacked an international oil tanker. China imports half its crude, much of it the Middle East.

Rory Medcalf is with the think tank the Lowy Institute in Sydney. He says it’s time for Beijing to protect its cargoes.

Rory Medcalf: They don’t want to, if you like, outsource the security of their energy imports and so on, the United States, forever.

Beijing says its deployment is about taking responsibility. And its naval projection is part of a “peaceful rise” in the world. Still, Medcalf says China’s neighbors are watching for any signs of military aggression.

Medcalf: Nobody knows precisely how powerful China will behave — I don’t even think the leaders of China know how their country might behave 20 or 30 years from now.

For now, the point is to protect shipping lanes.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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