BERLIN: Germany will expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific by sending more warships and joining drills with allies as it keeps an eye on the “enormous” build-up of China’s armed forces, the German defence chief told Reuters.
Germany is joining other Western nations in showing more muscle in the region amid growing alarm over Beijing’s territorial ambitions.
Last year, Berlin sent its first warship in almost 20 years to the disputed waters of the South China Sea – at the risk of irking its top trade partner – and this month it sent 13 military aircraft to joint exercises in Australia.
General Eberhard Zorn told Reuters the Bundeswehr planned on sending troops to participate in training exercises in Australia next year, while the navy would send a fleet of several more ships to the region in 2024.
“This is how we want to consolidate our presence in the region,” Zorn said in an interview at the defence ministry in Berlin.
Germany has historically been more timid in its security policy than its allies due to its role in two world wars, focusing more on trade in its international relations – with China’s rapid economic expansion driving its own growth and the country becoming its top trade partner in 2016.