Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced on Sunday that Germany will deploy two warships to the Indo-Pacific in 2024, amid growing disputes between China and Taiwan and over the contested South China Sea.

Pistorius said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the most important security conference in Asia, that countries had to defend the international order based on rules and the security of major sea routes.

For this purpose, the German Federal Government dispatched a frigate to the Indo-Pacific in 2021, and will again, in 2024, send maritime assets – this time a frigate and a supply ship – to the region,” he said, according to a transcript of his speech provided by the defense ministry in Berlin.

He also said the deployments were not aimed at any country, a comment apparently meant for China.

“Instead: They are committed to the protection of the international order based on rules that we all agreed to and which we all should benefit from – whether in the Mediterranean, in the Bay of Bengal or in the South China Sea.

By increasing its military presence in the region, Germany is balancing its security and economic interests as China is Berlin’s most important trade partner.

In 2021, a German warship entered the South China Sea for the first time in nearly 20 years, a move that saw Berlin joining other Western nations in boosting its military presence in the region amid growing concern over China’s territorial claims.

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