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Sailing into the open sea


04-24-2017 07:55 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

It's not just a home-grown aircraft carrier that's being noted. The Chinese Navy, which is celebrating its 68th anniversary this Sunday, is making strides in many more areas in the deep blue sea.

The Yulin ship was on a rescue spree early this April. It had just dispelled eight harrassing boats for a Hong Kong merchant ship when word came that it was needed to save a Tuvalu cargo ship that had come under a pirate attack. Yulin sped there and saved the ship in distress.

"We are always on alert, and will always launch at the fastest speed. The rescue mission this time says a lot about us. We now play an important role in maintaining regional peace," Zhao Jicheng, No. 25 fleet commander of PLA Navy, said.

The Chinese Navy has successfully escorted more than 6,300 ship since 2008. From searching for the lost Malaysian flight MH370 to providing clean water for the Maldives capital Male, the Chinese navy have provided help for some twenty countries. It's reported to have given much needed medical service to more than 100,000 foreigners in that period. And it's the result of strategic changes in the past few years.

"We have new missions and tasks, and we always prepare with the best forces. Now we are working on more training on the open sea, with task organizations, submarines and others regularly on patrol exercises. And we excel in missions of ocean escorts, joint exercises and other missions. We go where we are needed," Xu Chengguang, dept. of General staff of East China Sea Fleet, said.

According to China's Military Strategy, released in 2015, the Navy is gradually shifting focus from just "offshore waters defense" to a combination strategy that includes MORE "open seas protection". To this end, it's building a multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure.

And the Navy's sailing into the open sea reflects China's take on the ocean. A white paper China released says the country is abandoning the "traditional mentality that land outweighs sea" , and is attaching great importance to"managing the seas, oceans, as well as protecting its maritime rights and interests."

China also said in 2012 it will work to become a maritime power. And that's a promise it looks to be keeping.

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