German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius speaks to the media on the sidelines of the 20th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, June 3, 2023. Photo/REUTERS/Caroline Chia
SINGAPORE – Germany will deploy two warships to the Indo-Pacific next year. German Minister of Defense (Menhan) Boris Pistorius said this at an international summit on Sunday (4/6/2023).
The remarks come amid ongoing regional tensions involving China and Taiwan, as well as the disputed South China Sea.
In a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore on Sunday, Pistorius said the maritime routes through which about 40% of European foreign trade travel must be respected.
“To this end, the German federal government is sending frigates to the Indo-Pacific in 2021, and will again deploy maritime assets in 2024,” Pistorius said at a conference attended by many of the world’s most influential defense officials.
“These assets will consist of frigates and supply vessels,” he said.
But he emphasized that the maritime deployment was not carried out to counter the actions of certain actors in the region. “Instead, they are dedicated to protecting the rules-based international order that we all signed up to and which we must benefit from,” he said.
Berlin and Beijing maintain key trade ties, but the deployment of warships to the South China Sea in 2024 has the potential to cause new problems as Germany seeks to balance its security and economic interests.
In 2021, a German warship was deployed to the region for the first time in nearly two decades.
Other Western countries are also increasing their military presence in the region amid concerns about Beijing’s territorial objectives, particularly with regard to Taiwan.