27 Dec 2008

Chinese navy heads into new waters

2:58 pm on 27 December 2008

The Chinese navy says it's ready for a prolonged mission in waters off Somalia in order to protect Chinese ships from attack by pirates.

Two Chinese destroyers and a supply vessel have joined warships from other countries in an anti-pirate mission off East Africa.

It's the Chinese navy's first operation beyond the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Japanese prime minister Taro Aso has ordered his defence minister to speed up preparations for a swift deployment on the anti-pirate mission.

Japan's military activities abroad are tightly restricted by the constitution: at present the navy can protect only Japanese vessels.