Monday, December 29, 2008

Beijing ends 500 years of tradition as it sends the navy out to attack pirates

Times Online (UK)

From the dockside of the Yalong Bay base the three decorated vessels that weighed anchor and slipped off into the tropical seas yesterday afternoon might have been any normal coastal patrol.

For Beijing – and for governments watching across the globe – it was the beginning of a new era in world naval history. The interests of China now extend far beyond its borders but this was the first time in more than five centuries that it has travelled outside its territorial waters to defend them.

The last time a Chinese military fleet set sail for anywhere as far afield as Africa with the prospect of a fight at the other end, the ships were 400ft (122m) wooden junks and the commander was a Ming dynasty court eunuch called Zheng He.

— Zheng He is also known as Cheng Ho, or the Three Jewel Eunuch Admiral

Sounds more like the No Jewel Eunuch Admiral to me...

I will assume that today's Chinese sailors are fully equipped, and I wish them well. The whole world is watching this development. Please read the rest.

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