Gulf of Aden rescue demonstrates mission of PLA Navy
Published: Apr 10, 2017 11:48 PM
According to a Chinese navy statement, a PLA convoy fleet on Sunday local time rescued a Tuvalu-flagged ship hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, a region in which China has conducted escort missions since 2008. A group of 16 members from the Chinese navy's special force boarded the hijacked ship and rescued the 19 crew members. The operation demonstrates China's growing strength and role in fighting against piracy and safeguarding maritime security of major waters of the world.

China has actively engaged in international anti-piracy operations in recent years, however, despite the country's willingness to fulfill its international obligations as a major power in safeguarding international and regional peace and stability, the Chinese navy has not been applauded for its efforts, and instead has been subject to overwhelming suspicions.

Many Western media outlets and Western strategists have maliciously hyped China's intention of improving its naval strength and its military reach into the open seas, claiming the expanding Chinese naval presence is aimed at competing for the control of major waters, and establishing maritime hegemony. 

As a matter of fact, with China becoming the second-largest economy of the world and its overseas interests expanding, it's imperative for Beijing to build a powerful navy that can protect arterial maritime trade routes and defend the country's growing international interests. Besides, dealing with non-traditional security threats such as terrorism and piracy requires international joint efforts, which China, as a responsible power, has a compelling obligation to join in. 

The Gulf of Aden has been plagued by piracy. As the latest hijack of the Tuvaluan ship indicates, despite strengthened international anti-piracy efforts over the past few years, which led to a drop in pirate attacks in the region, the Gulf of Aden is far from being safe. The fleets dispatched by relevant countries are still facing a daunting task to fight rampant pirates and to protect the security of passing ships and crews. 

China's constructive participation in security affairs, including peacekeeping and anti-piracy efforts, is conducive to safeguarding regional peace. With the growth of China's military strength, the Chinese navy will be able to offer more public security goods to the world.

The growing role and contribution of the Chinese navy in the international crackdown on non-traditional threats facing the world deserves objective evaluation.

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