German warship supports freedom of navigation

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TOKYO (AP) – The chief of the German navy said yesterday that sending a warship to the Indo-Pacific underscores his country’s concern that freedom of navigation and the rules-based international order are threatened in the region.

Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach, in Tokyo for a stopover by the frigate Bayern, said escalating tensions, territorial disputes and changing military balance in the region can have a huge impact on the- beyond Asia.

Speaking at a press conference, Schonbach said the ship’s shipment was intended to show support for Japan, the United States (United States) and other partners, and to unite their efforts to defend peace, free navigation and the rules-based international order.

Bayern will cross the South China Sea to demonstrate their right to free passage. The frigate arrived in Tokyo on Friday, becoming the first German warship to visit Japan in nearly 20 years. It has conducted joint exercises with other armies along the way, including two days of exercises with a Japanese destroyer in the Pacific Ocean, German officials said.

From mid-November, it will monitor the activities of North Korean ships for three weeks, including possible ship-to-ship transfers of banned cargoes, under a UN Security Council resolution.

“Sanctions against North Korea are a basic part of this mission,” Bayern commander Tilo Kalski said.

This is the first time that Germany has participated in the mission, which began in 2018 and was joined by New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Japan.

Japanese defense officials meet with German Navy officers on the deck of the German Navy frigate Bayern. PHOTO: AFP


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