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.