The PLAN is using its anti-piracy mission as an opportunity to learn:
Stratfor, a private intelligence agency based in the United States, said in a report that a Chinese antipiracy patrol would afford its navy “some very real opportunities for on-the-job training, covering everything from logistics far from home and combat against seaborne opponents to communications and joint operations with other, more experienced navies.”
The analysis also said the Chinese would probably monitor the way NATO warships, especially those of the United States, “communicate with each other and with their ship-borne helicopters.” The navy will acquire new skills, it said, “under the banner of internationalism.”
Duh-duh-DUH! Right; it would be a tragedy if the PLAN learned how to fight pirates by fighting pirates. Mild alarmism aside, it’s a genuine positive that the PLAN will have the opportunity to learn how to conduct joint operations.