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Germany is evading a clear political signal in the Indo-Pacific. The frigate Bayern, which is to be dispatched to the Indo-Pacific, will not be present on the Taiwan Strait. It is there, however, that China's free navigation is most at risk.

In an interview with the editorial network Germany (April 3, 2021), Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer explicitly advocated compliance with free trade routes: “We are not only talking about the freedom of sea routes, which is endangered by China, but we are also ready to do something to do for it. ”Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer continues:“ I want us not only to say nice words, but to really do something. ”The interview was also published on May 7th by the Federal Ministry of Defense on the Internet set.

On March 30, 2021, the then State Secretary Dr. Peter Tauber in response to a question from MP Ulrich Lechte (FDP): "A trip through the Taiwan Strait is not planned for the Frigate Bavaria as part of the Indo-Pacific Deployment 2021."

The German government decided early on not to anger Beijing. After what has become known about the course of the telephone conversation between Chinese President Xi and Chancellor Merkel on April 7, this is no surprise. The Middle Kingdom ties economic cooperation to good political behavior. Berlin fits into the line of the EU, which wavers between inclusiveness, cooperation and well-measured criticism. At the same time, Brussels seeks proximity to like-minded partners such as Japan and Australia. Relations between these two countries and China have been gloomy for some time. Is the EU's course compatible with US policy towards China?

According to the Chinese Navy on April 5, 2021, exercises by Chinese carrier groups near Taiwan will become a habit. Attention is needed here, especially as Beijing does not rule out the use of force.

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning near Okinawa on April 3, 2021. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of Japan.

With its strategic focus on containing China, the Biden administration is less reluctant than the EU. Washington is trying to hit Beijing's nerve, maritime safety, wherever it can. The US Navy destroyer USS "John McCain" (DDG-56) made a "routine transit", according to the US Navy, through the Taiwan Strait these days. The passage of the USS "John McCain" was the fourth of a ship in the US Navy since President Joe Biden took office.

In order to counter China's military and trade expansion with alliances, US President Biden held the first talks with the heads of state and government of Australia, India and Japan in March as part of the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue”, also known as “Quad”, in which the four nations strive for a balance against China's growing military and economic power. It was Joe Biden's first attendance at a summit since taking office - not at the EU summit.

Among the European nations, France, with 7,000 soldiers stationed in the Indo-Pacific, is one of the countries in the EU that attaches strategic importance to security in the Indo-Pacific. After Brexit, France is the only EU country that has flagged its flag with passages in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait and stands up to Beijing. Things got bizarre in 2019 when the invitation to the French frigate “Vendémiaire” to take part in the naval parade on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Navy was withdrawn after it had passed through the Taiwan Strait.ESUT reported). France is also present in other sea areas of the Indo-Pacific. In the Bay of Bengal, France, together with the USA, Japan, India and Australia, carried out the joint naval exercise La Pérous 2021 from April 5th to 7th.

The British carrier group around the "HMS Queen Elizabeth" is expected in the course of the year in the Indo-Pacific. The Dutch frigate "Evertsen" will belong to the association.

Hans Uwe Mergener