Rivals Wary of China's New Sea Power

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 30, 2008 8:25 PM CST

(Newser) – China's decision to flex its burgeoning naval muscles by sending two warships to patrol Somalia's pirate-infested waters has been met with equal parts thanks and worry from the international community, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The mission is China’s first outside of its own waters, and many are wondering what the country will do next with its growing sea power.

India, Japan, and Taiwan are particularly wary, though one military expert in Beijing says it's simply logical. “We have more overseas interests," he said. “That’s why we need a stronger force on the oceans.” A Chinese defense official hinted that the nation may soon build an aircraft carrier. In the meantime, Beijing is stressing that the Somali mission is under the auspices of the UN.

A Chinese destroyer of the South China Sea Fleet fires a missile during training.
A Chinese destroyer of the South China Sea Fleet fires a missile during training.   (AP Photo)
Chinese Navy officers stand on the deck of the missile destroyer Shenzhen.
Chinese Navy officers stand on the deck of the missile destroyer Shenzhen.   (AP Photo)
Pirates aim weapons on the deck of the Chinese ship Zhenhua 4 in the Gulf of Aden.
Pirates aim weapons on the deck of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua 4" in the Gulf of Aden.   (AP Photo)
Chinese Navy special force members wave on the deck of a warship in Sanya.
Chinese Navy special force members wave on the deck of a warship in Sanya.   (AP Photo)
Chinese Navy sailors march past a warship at port before leaving for the Navy's first oversea operation.
Chinese Navy sailors march past a warship at port before leaving for the Navy's first oversea operation.   (AP Photo)
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force carry out an anti pirate drill.
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force carry out an anti pirate drill.   (AP Photo)
A helicopter that will join the Chinese Navy's first overseas operation flies over the port in Sanya.
A helicopter that will join the Chinese Navy's first overseas operation flies over the port in Sanya.   (AP Photo)
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