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China concerned about safety of hostages taken by Somali pirates
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The Chinese government is greatly concerned about the safety of Chinese hostages still taken by Somali pirates, China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui said Tuesday.

In remarks to the media after the Security Council adopted resolution 1846 urging intensified efforts to fight Somali piracy, Zhang said that sixteen Chinese crew members and their boat are still being taken by Somali pirates.

He said that Chinese leaders and the Chinese government are greatly concerned about their safety and that relevant government departments are actively engaged in rescue efforts to ensure their early freedom.

"It is our hope that through our efforts and with the support of the international community, the crew members will win their freedom and reunite with their families as early as possible," he said.

In explanatory remarks after the council vote, Zhang stressed that combating piracy is a new challenge facing the international community and requires the participation of many states.

Therefore, it is self-evident that the UN should play a coordinating role in this regard, he said.

As a victim of piracy off the coast of Somalia, China vigorously supports and is ready to participate in international anti-piracy endeavors coordinated by the United Nations, he said.

The Chinese ambassador also pointed out the importance to address the root causes of the piracy issue.

"The piracy is only a symptom. The issue cannot be fundamentally resolved if the domestic crisis in Somalia is not effectively addressed," he said.

"While focusing on piracy, the international community should not lose sight of the root causes of the worsening piracy issue," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2008)

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