Though China abstained from a UN Security Council vote authorizing a no-fly-zone in Libya, and are not among the 16 nation coalition involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn, for the first time in modern day naval history, a Chinese warship sailed in the Mediterranean Sea. The 4000 ton Xuzhou missile frigate sailed to Libya after having been deployed of the coast of Yemen, on the other side of the Red Sea, a few days ago.
The missile frigate’s role is not exactly clear, but based on China’s position thus far it is not likely that the ship is part of the US, UK and French led attack. The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s newspaper, earlier pointed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and criticized the US for launching a third attack “on a sovereign nation,” so the chances that China is providing assistance are slim. While China may be flexing some of its military might, they are more than likely in the area strictly to observe operations – for the time being.