China May Launch Pirate Patrol
Officials weigh Chinese naval mission in 500 years
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2008 2:09 AM CST
A Chinese Navy destroyer fires a missile during a training mission in the South China Sea. China is preparing for naval action against Somali pirates.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)
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(Newser) – China is poised to embark on its first naval combat mission in 500 years—to take on pirates off the coast of Somalia, reports the Financial Times. Any patrols launched would be closely monitored by the US, Russian and British navies, concerned about China's growing  military power. 

One Western naval attaché said forces already engaged in anti-piracy operations hope the Chinese navy will at least co-ordinate with them, but he isn't optimistic about much more. "That they would put themselves under somebody else's command, for example become part of the European Union's Atlanta operation, seems unimaginable," he added. More than 30 ships have been attacked by pirates based in Somalia and up to 19 captured, including a Chinese fishing vessel this week.