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English>>Foreign Affairs

No need for nerves over routine goodwill calls

(Global Times)

08:25, August 02, 2012

(Global Times/Sun Ying)

On July 24, ships from the Chinese fifth fleet sailed out of the northern exit of the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. The ships visited the Mediterranean after an anti-piracy patrol off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. It was the first time that a Chinese escort fleet has passed into the Mediterranean.

Some Western scholars have strong feelings about this issue. They related China's visit to the celebration of Russia's Navy Day, which involved some exercises off Sevastopol.

They expected that there would be joint exercises launched by China, Russia, Syria and Iran. Even when this conjecture was officially denied, they still considered the visit as the embodiment of Chinese naval ambition.

These arguments put too much weight on the visit. It is a planned escort fleet instead of a provisional decision. According to established practice, such military visits are decided long in advance, and are more about goodwill than a specific purpose.

China has its own considerations and will not launch joint exercises with other countries over the Syria issue. The Chinese government has already confirmed that this was a planned visit to Ukraine.

Changes in the global security environment call for international cooperation. With the development of economic globalization, new security threats have emerged. What we are facing now is not just confrontation among countries.

Most of the times, threats from non-state actors cannot be solved by a single country. Chinese fleets have to have more contacts with other countries and create a better security environment through security cooperation.

Emerging problems cannot be explained by old ideas. In the new era, escort fleets have new missions and tasks. Besides defending our own sovereignty, the Chinese navy should undertake more responsibilities, such as maintaining the freedom and safety of navigation and regional stability, as well as contributing to the implementation of UN resolutions.

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