SOUTH CHINA SEA: A naval commander said today that the Chinese navy should become more open when cooperating with international navies in fighting pirates.
"Openness can help China learn from more experienced navies," said Rear Admiral Du Jingchen, commander of the fleet that is returning after 123 days on the high seas near Africa.
Aboard his fleet's flagship destroyer Wuhan, Du suggested the navy, which conducted its first overseas combat mission in decades, should learn from the foreign navies' civilian-based information network, including civilian satellites, which help them monitor the pirate-riddled region.
The commander added that the Chinese navy should also learn about how foreign navies serve their soldiers who perform long overseas missions.
It is important to keep the soldiers in good spirits with more rests in port, said Du, who had boarded foreign naval warships during his mission in the Indian Ocean.
Du said he did not regret that his fleet didn't arrest any pirates, although it did escort 206 Chinese and foreign merchant ships.
"But I do have one regret, and that is Somali pirates remain a big threat to merchant ships around the world," said Du as he urged nations to help Somalia rebuild its economy as the decisive method to stop piracy.
His fleet, comprised of well-equipped destroyers that set off from Sanya, Hainan province four months ago, will return to their home port in the coastal resort at 9 am Tuesday morning.