We continue to discuss the issue of shipping safety off the horn of Africa within the international community. UK officials and officials from the People’s Republic of China will be in attendance at the contact group, which is due to meet this week to discuss a coherent international response to this difficult problem. The People’s Republic of China has sent three vessels to the gulf of Aden and international forces are liaising with them to ensure that their activities are co-ordinated. We welcome China’s contribution.
We try to have appropriate contacts with the Chinese military, on a military-to-military basis. The Chinese military’s potential is considerable because of their size; if they can be made to be a contributor to international efforts, as they already are in so many areas, that is to be welcomed. It is a positive move, and we do everything that we can to encourage it.