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China joins multinational naval force to fight Somali piracy

With Somali piracy still posing a severe threat, China agreed Thursday to join the US, Europe, and others in a multilateral naval force.
Since late 2008, China has dispatched four flotillas to the Gulf of Aden area, expanding its military activity abroad.

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China agreed Thursday to join the United States, Europe, and others in a multilateral naval force to prevent piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Its participation in the year-old Contact Group of Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) will bolster the fight against a growing threat in a critical shipping corridor as well as expand China’s military activity abroad – a trend that has been drawn praise as well as concern.
Attacks in the Gulf of Aden have reached an all-time high, though their success rate has dropped, officials leading the international effort to fight piracy said Thursday. The three-quarters of ships that follow best practices have remained free from targeting, said Paul Chivers, chief of staff of the UN-backed European Union antipiracy operation, according to CNN.
Chinese participation “will make the patrolling more efficient,” said Carl Salicath, head of the CGPCS.
As the threat to Chinese ships has grown, so has China’s role in fighting piracy, Agence France-Presse noted. A Chinese bulk carrier hijacked last October was freed last month with a $3.5 million ransom payment.
Since late 2008, China has dispatched four flotillas to the Gulf of Aden area. Last December, a top naval official suggested setting up a permanent base for ships fighting piracy there.

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