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China joins anti-piracy force off Somalia

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China joins anti-piracy force off Somalia

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Global efforts against Somali pirates are raising questions about regional influence and power. Three Chinese warships armed with missiles have set sail for the Gulf of Aden, the first time that Beijing has sent warships on a mission so far beyond its territorial waters. Now Japan also says it is considering sending its Navy to fight piracy, despite its post-World War Two pacifist constitution.

Warships from India, Russia, NATO and the US are also patrolling off the coast of Somalia, and observers say the new Chinese presence may increase worries about Beijing’s growing military might. Pirates have made millions by hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing more than 40 vessels. The latest quick action by a German warship appears to have saved an Egyptian carrier from being hijacked. The ship was heading to Asia when Somali pirates surrounded it and started firing. The German warship chased them off.