NSIn fact, Germany wanted to meet China by offering a visit to the frigate Bavaria to the port of Shanghai. With this visit, the German government wanted to prevent Beijing from considering the dispatch of the German warship to the Indo-Pacific and South China Seas as a provocation. But the conciliatory signal fell on deaf ears in China. Beijing refused to allow German marines to go ashore. Only this week, the German Foreign Ministry said in Berlin that it had “taken note” of the decision. Bayern themselves announced on Twitter that instead of Shanghai, they will now stop in Darwin, Australia.
And the Chinese Foreign Ministry justified the refusal to visit the port indirectly out of mistrust. Spokesman Zhao Lijian said China regards relations with Germany, including cooperation between the armed forces, as important and is ready for “friendly exchanges based on mutual respect and trust.” However, it is up to Germany to “create the conditions for this.”
The road has been publicly reported
His additional reasoning seems to amount to the fact that China considers any passage of a non-Asian warship through the South China Sea a violation of its sovereignty. It is up to China and ASEAN countries to ensure stability in the region, said Zhao Lijian. In recent years, “certain countries have regularly sent warships and aircraft into the South China Sea in the name of freedom of the sea to flex their muscles, cause trouble, and deliberately create conflicts over maritime affairs” primarily over the United States. Regarding Germany, Zhao Lijian added, “We hope that countries outside the region will respect and play a constructive role in the efforts of countries in the region to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
The resolution is only the latest evidence that Beijing is showing less and more diplomatic agility on matters of its regional “core interests”. There is talk in Beijing of a “rickshaw mentality”. China sees itself surrounded by supposedly hostile forces. Therefore, there is less and less room for a middle position favored by outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel in the main conflict between China and the United States. Chinese naval ships visited Kiel Week in 2016 and 2018.
When planning to deploy the frigate Bavaria, Germany avoided all sorts of things that could provoke China. It had been clarified early on that Bayern Munich would not cross the Taiwan Strait. In the South China Sea, Bavaria must only use normal international shipping routes and not approach the archipelago, which China, contrary to a 2016 ruling by the Hague Court of Arbitration, considers its territory. Also, joint exercises with allies in the South China Sea were not planned.
The allies were not happy
Unlike Great Britain, for example, Germany communicated the details of the mission publicly. The British carrier strike group HMS Queen Elizabeth recently angered China by conducting extensive maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific with American destroyers, American fighter planes and Dutch ships.
China has abandoned a face-saving solution. He would have identified the epidemic as the reason for Bavaria’s refusal to visit the port. The country could have referenced its strict rules related to the coronavirus and similar cases in the region. In August, the union around HMS Queen Elizabeth canceled a planned visit to the port of Busan, South Korea, due to the pandemic.
Perhaps no one in Berlin is too saddened by the rejection from Beijing. The German duplicity of the mission did not win the approval of all the Allies. After all, the primary purpose of the first dispatch of a German warship to the Indo-Pacific in nearly 20 years was both a gesture to valuable partners in the region and as a commitment to a rules-based order that China has been skeptical of.
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