A senior figure in China’s Ministry of National Defense said the country will consider building aircraft carriers to boost its naval power, Bloomberg reported. "Aircraft carriers meet the specific needs of a nation’s military might," Senior Colonel Huang Xueping said at a press briefing on China’s efforts to help combat pirates off the coast of Somalia. Huang announced that two destroyers and one supply ship supported by two helicopters will sail from Hainan on December 26. The destroyers are equipped with missiles and cannons and carry a specially trained combat force. A ship owned by China Communications Construction was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on December 17. According to a Foreign Ministry, 1,265 Chinese commercial ships passed through Somali waters in the first 11 months of this year. One-fifth were assaulted by pirates. China plans to spend US$57 billion on its military in 2008, up 18% year-on-year.
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