The German government has joined a league of countries that have changed their Indo-Pacific strategy amid perceived threat posed by China in the region, reports said on Thursday.
According to the latest report by Nikkei Asia, Berlin is planning to send a naval frigate to Japan as part of its new focus on the Indo-Pacific.
The ship will begin its journey from Germany in the summer and will likely make port calls in South Korea and Australia.
The ship is also likely to sail through the South China Sea.
Citing sources in the German government and the ruling party, Nikkei Asia reported that a frigate with a home port in northern Germany will stay in the Indo-Pacific region for a while, with stops in Japan, Australia, South Korea and elsewhere.
It is a rare move for Berlin, which has no Indo-Pacific territories of its own, unlike the UK and France, Nikkei Asia stated.
The decision to set the ship sail across the South China Sea is the first step since the German Cabinet had in last fall approved new Indo-Pacific guidelines, which emphasized the importance of the rule of law and open markets in the region.
“We hope to set sail this summer. We have not decided on the details yet, but we are looking at Japan.
”We want to deepen our ties with our partners in the democratic camp,” Thomas Silberhorn, parliamentary state secretary for the Defense Ministry, told Nikkei.
Though Silberhorn has stated that the decision is “not aimed at anyone”, Germany’s move is clearly a statement that the government is making its plans on the basis of “Chinese expansionism,” the report said.
Germany’s new Indo-Pacific focus is in line with similar policy shifts by the UK, France and the Netherlands.
According to Nikkei Asia, Germany’s increased attention to the rule of law and open markets in the Indo-Pacific signals that it has jettisoned its long-held stance on China
This by and large had to do with decoupling politics and economics as it deepens economic engagement while avoiding political issues.
Meanwhile, the UK will be deploying the HMS Queen Elizabeth to Asia for same reason.
A British navy spokesperson has informed Nikkei that the aircraft carrier is expected to depart sometime between April and June.
Similarly, France is also becoming increasingly aware of the Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Stating the reason for the new Indo-Pacific strategy, Silberhorn has stated that Europe “needs to take more responsibility for its own security” instead of being over-dependent on the U.S. military.