By Invitation

Zheng He's voyages - the sequel

Directed by President Xi Jinping, China's Navy is undergoing a major build-up as a spearhead of a more muscular foreign policy.

China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in the western Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2018.
China's aircraft carrier Liaoning takes part in a military drill of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in the western Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

On July 11, China observed its National Maritime Day which, since 2005, has commemorated the first long-distance voyage to South and South-east Asia by the Chinese eunuch admiral Zheng He in the year 1405.

Zheng He made a total of seven great voyages, commanding a fleet of large ships. According to the historiography of the Communist Party of China (CPC), although the fleet was militarily powerful enough to crush or capture regional cities, its mandate was to "enhance friendship" and offer gifts, and Zheng He resorted to combat only against "pirates" or in the event of "misunderstandings".

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