Departure of a German frigate for the South China Sea
On Monday, the German Navy sent the frigate Bayern on a long trip to the South China Sea, showing support for the multinational effort to offset Chinese expansionism in the region.
The journey will last seven months, and he will see Bayern participate in a NATO exercise in the Mediterranean and the EUNAVOR anti-piracy mission off Somalia en route east. It will stop over in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Australia in addition to transiting through the South China Sea. China is not currently on that of Bayern route, and Chinese authorities have said they will not welcome the ship unless Germany clarifies the frigate’s mission.
Unlike US Navy ships, which periodically challenge Chinese maritime claims while passing near Chinese-occupied islands, the Bayern should stay close to established shipping lanes. He is also expected to avoid the Taiwan Strait; The US Navy’s transits through the Strait are widely interpreted as a message of support for an independent Taiwan, and they regularly draw criticism from Beijing.
“It’s good to talk about our values, but it’s even better to [show] it, “German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement.” Today the frigate Bayern is heading towards the Indo-Pacific – a sign of stability, prosperity and a regulated multilateral order. . . With our valued partners in the region, Germany shows [its] presence in the Indo-Pacific and set an example of solidarity. “
While that of Bayern mission is to send a message of opposition to China’s vast maritime claims, some defense observers have expressed concern that the deployment may end up having the opposite effect. Yes Bayern should stop over in Shanghai before transiting through the South China Sea – as discussed previously – this could be interpreted as a sign that Germany was seeking permission from Beijing before entering the disputed waters.
“It illustrates [that] European naval deployments can actively undermine rather than contribute to compliance with international law or support a strategy of deterrence against China – in fact, they can even go so far as to strengthen Chinese territorial claims in Asia. It all depends on the details, âwrote Hans Kundnani, senior researcher at Chatham House, and Professor Michito Tsuruoka of Keio University in a recent editorial.