Angela Merkel orders warship to South China Sea as tensions mount over contested waterway

South China Sea: Germany ‘to send warships’ says expert

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Germany and India have teamed up to send warships to the South China Sea in a show of naval force designed to counter China’s ambitions in the region. Indian-based network WION has reported that the German frigate Bayern has embarked on a seven-month deployment to the hotly contested waterway. The area has been a focus for regional tensions as Beijing looks to assert territorial claims on a series of strategic islands, reefs, and atolls.

Ms Makin-Isherwood told WION: “Germany and India will be sending warships to the disputed South China Sea.

The development comes as tensions continue to mount with China over Beijing’s unilaterally claims to vast swathes of territory in the important maritime highway.

“Germany is sending 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.”

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“Amid growing alarm over China’s territorial ambitions,” she added.

The Brandenburg-class frigate Bayern has already departed on its seven-month mission.

Bayern’s deployment will also take the vessel to Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The warship is expected to traverse the hotly contested South China Sea in mid-December, this first German vessel to do so since 2002.

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German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “We want existing law to be respected, sea routes to be freely navigable, open societies to be protected and trade to follow fair rules.”

“The message is clear: we are standing up for our values and interests together with our partners and allies,” she added.

“For our partners in the Indo-Pacific, it is a reality that sea routes are no longer open and secure, and that claims to territory are being applied by the law of might is right.”

Officials in Germany have stated the warship to stick to common trade routes and will not travel through the flashpoint of the Taiwan Straights.

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Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday: “The Indo-Pacific is where the shape of the international order of the future will be decided.

“We want to help shape it and take responsibility for the rules-based international order.”

Last week the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft career HMS Queen Elizabeth entered the contested seas despite protests from China.

The warship led a carrier strike group into the South China Sea in order to conduct a so-called “Freedom of Navigation” exercise.

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