You Shall Not Pass: China Denies Entry to German Warship
China has denied the Germans a port call for their warship, the Bayern, after weeks of stalling the decision.
The Bayern is one of the most powerful warships in the German armada. The frigate, which is crewed by at least 200 navy men, set sail for the Pacific on August 2, where it will add its weight to the growing Western alliance seeking to counter China’s expansion in the region.
Port calls are goodwill visits of military ships to ports of foreign nations. Such visits are common among friendly nations, especially during joint maritime exercises between nations. Port calls are also used by the crew to refuel or resupply their ships with food, water, and other provisions.
But clearly, China does not see Germany's visit into its backyard as anything friendly, especially since the Bayern will be taking part in freedom of navigation exercises or FONOPS with China's adversaries in the region, possibly in the contested waters of the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.
“After a period of reflection, China has decided that it does not want a port visit by the German frigate Bayern and we have taken note of that,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr told reporters in Berlin.
Germany is among the many Western nations whose navies are gathering in the Pacific in what is largely seen as a move to contain China's military rise and expansion in the region.
During its six-month deployment to the region, the Bayern will pass the South China Sea, which is considered one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints. The warship will enter Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Australia, and will take part in FONOPS in contested waters.