Observers have accused authorities of letting their guard amid a period of relative security for shipping companies operating in the strategic route.
US, France, Japan already have military bases in Djibouti; now visit of top Chinese general hints Beijing wants in too
Fang visited the Chinese guided missile frigate Sanya, which was making a port call after patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast.
The eastern coast of Africa has only nine coastal countries. This has created 10 landlocked countries and 400m people who have no access to the sea.
Somalia's northern regions are impoverished and suffered knock-on effects of years of outright civil war further south, but are largely peaceful.
In the past five years, more than 500,000 people - mostly Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis - have reached Yemen following treacherous journeys.