Singapore seen as best hub for German Navy's Indo-Pacific deployment

Kyodo News

Posted at Dec 22 2021 12:56 AM

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SINGAPORE — Germany's Navy chief said Tuesday that Singapore is the best location as a naval logistics hub for his country, which plans to deploy warships from 2023 to contribute to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.

Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach told reporters on board the frigate Bayern, making a port call at Singapore's Changi Naval Base as part of a patrol and training mission, that Germany plans to send one or two naval ships, including a frigate, that could stay for two years or more at a time in the region.

"And we just need a logistic hub, and Singapore is...I think the best we can have," he said.

Germany had expressed interest to the United Nations last year in helping to boost maritime security, including the freedom of navigation, in the South China Sea, and preserving the rules-based international order.

In an article published in The Straits Times newspaper on Monday, Germany's ambassador to Singapore, Norbert Riedel, said "we are particularly concerned by the assertion of unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea, as well as ongoing intimidation and coercion against other states in the region in asserting their lawful rights.

"Territorial disputes in the South and East China seas are to be resolved on the basis of international maritime law," he said.

The ambassador said the frigate's presence is also part of concerted European Union efforts to step up its security engagement in the region.

In August, Germany became a member of the Japan-led intergovernmental anti-sea piracy watchdog, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, or ReCAAP, which is based in Singapore.

Bayern, which arrived in Singapore on Monday, is on a six-month deployment to the Indo-Pacific, the first by a German frigate in nearly 20 years.

Its mission includes performing joint exercises with Germany's partners in the region, such as the navies of Australia, Singapore, Japan and the United States.

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