The Chinese Navy wants to be taken seriously as a guarantor of the global commons.
By Ankit Panda
In mid-March, the hijacking of a merchant fuel tanker off the coast of Somalia jolted the world of maritime shipping. Somalia’s infamous pirates had announced their return. Fortunately, in their relative period of dormancy since 2012 — the date of the last attempted hijacking of a large vessel — much has changed about the maritime environs of the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
One of the bigger changes in recent years has been the increased presence of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), which has taken to the western Indian Ocean region as it becomes an increasingly global navy with expeditionary aspirations. Readers of the The Diplomat, for instance, may recall China setting up its first overseas naval facility in Djibouti, with the intention of establishing a logistical supply base in the area to support PLAN counter-piracy operations.
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