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Germany challenges China’s WPS claim

Republika

The German frigate, or warship, Bayern, arrived in the South China Sea last week for a freedom of navigation trip, intended to clarify its position on China’s ‘far-reaching’ maritime claims.


The vessel arrived on Dec. 20 as part of a six-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific, which the German Federal Foreign Office said highlighted the nation’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).


As the all-encompassing and globally applicable legal basis for all maritime claims, the UNCLOS ensures freedom of navigation in international waterways.


According to German chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach, the deployment of Bayern represents the country’s promise to deepen its engagement in Asia, the ways among which include expanding security and defense cooperation with partners in the region.


The German Ministry said that Bayern’s patrol and training mission would be their contribution to defending order in the Indo-Pacific.


In September last year, Germany, along with France and the United Kingdom declared their legal position to the UN on international law on maritime claims in the SCS in a joint note verbale.


The Ministry said: “Open shipping routes are immensely important to the economies of Germany and Europe. A disruption to maritime trade routes in the Indo-Pacific and thus to the supply chains to and from Europe would have serious repercussions for the prosperity of and supplies to Germany and Europe.”


In the same month this year, China had refused a planned stopover of Bayern in a Chinese port.

Photo: Defense News


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