Two weeks after Australia announced its new Indo-Pacific Pact with the USA and Great Britain, the frigate Bavaria entered an Australian port on Tuesday. The German warship reached the port of Fremantle near the western Australian city of Perth at around 10 a.m. local time. The frigate thanked you on Twitter for the "warm welcome" in Fremantle. With the frigate visit, Germany wants to show its flag in the region and express its support for the “rule-based order”, which is coming under increasing pressure, especially due to the growing trade and maritime power of China.The warship with 243 crew members set sail in Wilhelmshaven at the beginning of August and, after arriving in the Indian Ocean, had already stopped at the port of Karachi in Pakistan and refueled at the Diego Garcia military base.

Till Fähnders

Political Correspondent for Southeast Asia.

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With the frigate a sign "for freedom and multilateralism" will be set, it was said earlier from the Ministry of Defense in Berlin. With the visit, the federal government is also implementing the announcement from its guidelines on the Indo-Pacific that it wants to show more presence in the area. The recently introduced EU Indo-Pacific strategy also announced more naval deployments in the region. The Bavarian voyage is the first of a German warship into the Indo-Pacific in about two decades. The increased engagement is primarily a response to China's demonstrations of force in the area. The export nation Germany is thus also setting an example for open sea routes. According to the Berlin ministry, the Indo-Pacific is one of the "strategically most important regions in the world", in "the decisions about security,Freedom and Prosperity ”.

A trip through the South China Sea, which Beijing is almost entirely part of its territory, is also on the agenda. Unlike American warships, the German frigate will not enter the twelve-mile zones of the disputed islands in the sea area, but will only travel along international trade routes. Even so, the Navy expects to be pursued by the Chinese Navy and watched by the Chinese Air Force. In order not to provoke China too much, the frigate also refrains from crossing the Taiwan Strait. The Germans also wanted to demonstrate their peaceful intentions towards China and had requested a stop in the port of Shanghai. But Beijing had refused this.

Other western powers such as Great Britain and France are less reluctant to undertake missions in the area. The British frigate HMS Richmond crossed the Taiwan Strait on Monday on its way to Vietnam, prompting angry reactions from Beijing. It was the first passage of a Royal Navy ship through the strait since 2019 and the first British warship since 2008. France and Great Britain have also sent their aircraft carriers Charles de Gaulle and Queen Elizabeth to the region. Australia also regularly participates in maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific. It is considered one of the key countries in the geostrategic competition between China and the United States. Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated significantly,since Canberra requested an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.