Germany sends warships to Indo-Pacific amid China-Taiwan tensions

The German Navy supply ship Frankfurt am Main
The German Navy supply ship Frankfurt am Main

Berlin has dispatched two naval vessels to the Indo-Pacific region to bolster its military presence amidst mounting tensions between China and Taiwan, as well as concerning developments in the contested South China Sea, Reuters reported on May 7.

"Germany cannot afford to turn a blind eye or remain absent in the Indo-Pacific region, neglecting to support the international rules-based order," stated Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, emphasizing the imperative of maintaining presence. He underscored that escalating tensions threaten the freedom of navigation and passage along vital trade routes. "Presence matters."

The supply ship Frankfurt am Main departed from the town of Wilhelmshaven on Germany's North Sea coast, while the frigate Baden-Wuerttemberg set sail from the Spanish harbor of Rota. The vessels will rendezvous at sea before proceeding to Canadian Halifax and onward to the Indo-Pacific, according to Reuters.

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Beijing asserts almost the entirety of the South China Sea as its own, despite a ruling by an international tribunal that China lacks a legal basis for these claims. The status of democratically-governed Taiwan is also contested, as China regards the island as its own territory.

In recent years, China has consistently issued threats of reunification with Taiwan by force, frequently employing assertive military actions to convey its dissatisfaction with US policies in the region.

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