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China may take over refueling (supporting NATO/US in Indian Ocean)

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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 04:59 PM
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China may take over refueling (supporting NATO/US in Indian Ocean)
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Chinese Navy is considering taking over the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean that ended Friday, according to government sources.

If it does take over the mission, China will increase its presence in the key sea-lane, where Japan is transporting crude oil from the Middle East, a development that is likely to draw criticism of the administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hato-yama, which decided to terminate the mission.

According to the government sources, a confidential Chinese government document states that the navy is undergoing training in preparation for a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

The sources also said that when the MSDF's refueling mission was suspended in November 2007, a party connected to the Chinese Navy unofficially sounded out the U.S. government on taking over the mission. However, the United States did not accept the proposal at that time.

Japan's refueling mission was suspended after the Antiterrorism Law, which provided a legal basis for the operation, expired due to resistance from the Democratic Party of Japan and other parties then in opposition.

China has aggressively been conducting military operations in waters around the Middle East, dispatching its vessels to conduct antipiracy missions in waters off Somalia.

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