BEIJING – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has worked to safeguard the security of international sea lines of communication, according to a white paper issued Tuesday by the State Council Information Office.
“To fulfill China’s international obligations, the Chinese navy carries out regular escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia,” says the white paper on “the diversified employment of China’s armed forces.”
The Chinese Navy also conducts exchanges and cooperation with other escort forces to jointly safeguard the security of the international sea lines, it says.
As of December 2012, Chinese navy task groups have provided protection for four World Food Program (WFP) ships and 2,455 foreign ships, accounting for 49 percent of the total of escorted ships, and helped four foreign ships, recovered four ships released from captivity and saved 20 foreign ships from pursuit by pirates, it says.
“The Chinese navy escort task forces have also maintained smooth communication with other navies in the areas of joint escort, information sharing, coordination and liaison,” it says.
According to the white paper, the PLA navy have conducted joint escorts with their Russian counterparts, carried out joint anti-piracy drills with naval ships of the the Republic of Korea (ROK), Pakistan and the US, and coordinated with the European Union to protect WFP ships, the white paper says.
The PLA navy has exchanged boarding visits of commanders with task forces from the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the ROK, Japan and Singapore, as well as exchanged officers for onboard observations with the navy of the Netherlands, it says.
The white paper says that China takes an active part in the conferences of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and ¬†”Shared Awareness and Deconfliction” (SHADE) meetings on international merchant shipping protection.
Since January 2012, independent deployers such as China, India and Japan have strengthened their convoy coordination, the white paper says, adding that the countries have adjusted their escort schedules on a quarterly basis, optimized available assets, and thereby enhanced escort efficiency.
As the reference country for the first round of convoy coordination, China submitted its escort timetable for the first quarter of 2012 in good time. India and Japan’s escort task forces adjusted their convoy arrangements accordingly and formulated a well-scheduled escort timetable, it says.
The ROK joined these efforts in the fourth quarter of 2012, it says.