China: Time to attack Somali pirate bases

Beijing - China's military is urging land attacks on Somali pirate strongholds in a bold call signalling the armed forces' growing assertiveness.

China's navy has taken part in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since December 2008, but the government has not advocated direct attacks on land areas from which pirates operate.

However, at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, General Chen Bingde said he believes land bases must be attacked in order for counter-piracy campaigns to be effective.

The US and other countries taking part in the patrols have steered clear of land attacks for fear of becoming mired in ongoing campaigns in Somalia - a lawless nation where 18 US servicemen were killed in the capital, Mogadishu, in 1993.
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