South China Sea: Germany sends warship to disputed area amid growing fears of war

South China Sea conflict would be 'disastrous' says Hayton

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On Monday, a German warship was dispatched and will pass through the disputed waters on its six month Indo-Pacific mission. The German Defence Minister said that they are “standing up for our values and interests” by sailing through the territory that’s claimed by China.

China claims most of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea and this will be the first German warship to pass through the area since 2002.

The warship, the Bayern, left Wilhelmshaven harbour with 200 soldiers on board.

It is expected to pass through the South China Sea in December.

“The message is clear: we are standing up for our values and interests together with our partners and allies,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told Reuters.

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“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,” she added.

German officials have stated that the warship will stick to common trade routes and that it is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait.

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

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

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Many of Germany’s western allies have also been showing military presence in the area.

The UK deployed HMS Queen Elizabeth and its strike group to the disputed territory.

The aircraft carrier has sailed into the South China Sea to carry out navigational operations alongside US ships.

“It’s no secret that China shadows and challenges ships transiting international waters on very legitimate routes,” Ben Wallace, UK defence secretary, told the Times.

“We will respect China and we hope that China respects us . . . we will sail where international law allows.”

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