Friday, January 29, 2010

China Steps up to the Plate Against Somali Pirates

BBC reports that China has agreed to join an international group comprising of the US, NATO, and the EU in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia:
The BBC's United Nations correspondent Barbara Plett says officials believe having China on board will allow more ships to be diverted to the Somali Basin, a vast expanse of water in the western part of the Indian Ocean, where attacks are at an all time high.

The agreement also allows China to take on the rotating chairmanship of the naval task force that coordinates patrols.

China is believed to be interested in raising its participation in the anti-piracy drive partly because one of its ships was hijacked last October.

This is a significant development because it enhances the fight against piracy both in quantitative and qualitative terms. It is likely that the Chinese navy will be less hesitant in using lethal force against pirates than the EU's forces have been. The catch and release policy adopted by the EU will be marginalised if the Chinese take a more robust approach.