On 7/8th November EU NAVFOR was invited to participate in a meeting organized by the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to discuss clarifying areas of responsibility in the gulf of Aden and “to find the best formula of international cooperation” for escorting vessels through the Gulf of Aden. Other representatives were Combined Maritime Forces, NATO, India, Russia and Japan.
Currently EU, NATO and CMF all lead specialized anti piracy task forces, covering the security and protection of shipping in the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC), while the Chinese, Russian, Indian and Japanese task forces operate independently in convoys. The coordination of these forces is done through the SHADE and this meeting takes place in Bahrain every month. EU NAVFOR and CMF, who established this coordination, co-chair the meeting.
At the meeting in Beijing, the Chinese officials were keen to continue the close cooperation between PLA ships and other coalition forces. They also proposed to take a more active role in the SHADE, requesting that the co-Chairman positions should be rotated, making clear that, on occasions, they would also be willing to co-chair. The EU delegation, expressed their support for this proposal which will be presented to the next SHADE in December.