Chinese warship heading to Syria on disarmament mission

Beijing is deploying a single warship into the coastal waters off Syria, to assist in the international effort to destroy the country's chemical weapon stocks. 

Foreign ministry officials announced the deployment on Thursday, which will be an "important move" to securing those dangerous weapons, according to The New York Times

"China hopes that the relevant work on removing Syria's chemical weapons can be completed safely and smoothly. This will assist in pushing for a political resolution to the Syrian issue, will assist in increasing regional peace and stability and accords with the interest of all sides," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. 

The move comes as the Pentagon is outfitting a U.S. commercial vessel to destroy chemical weapons located and confiscated by international inspectors from the Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 

The MV Cape Ray is currently at the Navy shipyard in Norfolk, Va., being outfitted with field deployable hydrolysis system technology, which will allow U.S. forces to safely dispose of those chemical stockpiles, according to the Pentagon. 

The ship and its hydrolysis system are slated to undergo sea trials off the coast of Virginia in December, according to the Pentagon. 

Administration officials approved the use of the Cape May for possible disarmament operations earlier this month. 

But the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Syria is forcing international weapons inspectors to delay destruction plans for the country's chemical weapons stockpiles. 

OPCW announced earlier this month that it may not be able to reach its goal of having all of the Syrian chemical arsenal destroyed by the end of December. 

"There is a possibility we may have to revisit the upcoming target date of Dec. 31," the official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. 

The official did not comment as to when the disarmament plan could be completed, as a result of the delay.