Rivals Wary of China's New Sea Power

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2008 8:25 PM CST
A Chinese destroyer of the South China Sea Fleet fires a missile during training.   (AP Photo)
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(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.