Ship cruises in the Indo-Pacific: China does not want to receive German frigates

Ship cruises in the Indo-Pacific
China does not want to receive German frigates

With the dispatch of the frigate “Bayern” Germany wants to set an example in the conflict over the South China Sea. In order not to scare Beijing off with the action, a stop of the warship is planned in Shanghai. But after much deliberation, the People’s Republic declines a visit.

A visit by the frigate “Bavaria” to China planned by the federal government failed because of opposition from Beijing. “After a period of reflection, China decided that it would not want the German frigate ‘Bayern’ to visit the port, and we have taken note of that,” said a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Office in Berlin.

The frigate with 232 soldiers on board left Wilhelmshaven on August 2 for the Indo-Pacific. The German government announced in April that it would intensify its security policy engagement in Asia and, above all, coordinate more closely with Japan. However, the goals declared by the Ministry of Defense – “a rule-based order, free sea lanes, multilateralism” – should be linked with a friendly gesture in the direction of China – the now canceled port visit to Shanghai.

There is a territorial conflict between China and other neighboring countries in the South China Sea. Beijing claims 80 percent of the ocean, which is rich in natural resources and through which important shipping routes run. Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia also make territorial claims. The International Court of Arbitration in The Hague rejected China’s claims in 2016. Beijing ignores the verdict.

The “Bayern”, which went into service in 1996, is 139 meters long and belongs to the Brandenburg class. Germany owns four warships of this type, all of which entered service in the 1990s. They are among the older frigates in the Navy and are mainly used for submarine hunting.