German warship heads for South China Sea amid tension with Beijing


Members of a Marine brass band play for their comrades as the frigate "Bayern" of the German Marine leaves the port of Wilhelmshaven, northern Germany, on Aug 2, 2021. - AFP

BERLIN (Reuters): Germany on Monday (Aug 2) sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region amid growing alarm over China's territorial ambitions.

China claims swathes of the South China Sea and has established military outposts on artificial islands in the waters that contain gas fields and rich fishing.

The US Navy, in a show of force against the Chinese territorial claims, regularly conducts so-called "freedom of navigation" operations in which their vessels pass close by some of the contested islands. China in turn objects to the US missions, saying they do not help promote peace or stability.

Washington has put countering China at the heart of its national security policy and seeks to rally partners against what it says are Beijing's increasingly coercive economic and foreign policies.

Officials in Berlin have said the German navy will stick to common trade routes. The frigate is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait either, another regular US activity condemned by Beijing.

Nevertheless, Berlin has made it clear the mission serves to stress the fact Germany does not accept China's territorial claims.

Germany is walking a tightrope between its security and economic interests as China has become Berlin's most important trading partner. German exports there have helped mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Europe’s biggest economy.

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer travelled to the port of Wilhelmshaven to see the frigate Bayern off on its seven-month voyage that will take it to Australia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

The vessel is expected to cross the South China Sea in mid-December, making it the first German warship to pass through the region since 2002.

"We want existing law to be respected, sea routes to be freely navigable, open societies to be protected and trade to follow fair rules," Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

Countries including Britain, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have also been expanding their activity in the Pacific to counter China's influence.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Germany , warship , South China Sea

   

Next In Aseanplus News

Evergrande says six execs redeemed investment products in advance
JKJAV: 238,002 Covid-19 vaccine jabs given on Friday (Sept 17)
Asean News Headlines at 10pm on Friday (Sept 17)
Singapore: 934 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in country, highest since April last year - only one imported case on Friday (Sept 17)
Indonesia to reopen Bali for international visitors in October as govt announces 3,835 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (Sept 17)
Thailand govt eyes wider opening of economy as it reports 14,555 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (Sept 17)
Philippines take more virus measures as country logs 20,336 new Covid-19 cases and total rises to 2,324,475
Vietnam reports 11,521 new Covid-19 cases, 667,650 in total - Ho Chi Minh City still highest with 5,972 infections
Singapore optimistic as severe Covid-19 cases remain low despite current rise in virus infections
Indonesia warns against arms race after Australian nuclear sub pact

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers