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Jan 06, 2022 / 21:52

First German warship visits Vietnam

Security is one of the pillars in the Vietnam-Germany relations and it becomes increasingly important in exercising the German Indo-Pacific Guidelines of 2020.

Frigate “Bayern” on January 6 docked at Nha Rong Port in Ho Chi Minh City, marking it the first port call to Vietnam and demonstrating the vitality of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Germany.

 Frigate Bayern docks at Nha Rong Port, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photos: German Embassy Hanoi 

Vietnam is one among stops on the ship’s nine-month voyage in the Indo-Pacific that aims to strengthen cooperation with key partners and reaffirm the international rule-based order, especially the validity of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The visit of the frigate “Bayern” is an expression of the friendship between Vietnam and Germany. It recognizes the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific for international relations, German Ambassador Dr. Guido Hildner said.

Ambassador Hildner said “We are delighted about the first visit of a German Navy ship to Vietnam. It shows the high importance Germany attaches to the partnership with Vietnam, and it will strengthen the partnership. We cooperate with Vietnam in numerous fields. Security policy is one area among many.”

During the four-day visit to Vietnam, partial exercises on communication, navigation, tactical formation sailing, and rescue exercises can be carried out.  

The frigate, which carries 232 servicemen and women, had departed for the Indo-Pacific from its home port of Wilhelmshaven in August 2021. Together with Vietnam, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan, Australia, Guam, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and India are included in the list of destinations.

 Dr. Guido Hildner, German Ambassador to Vietnam, and Vietnamese officer at the ship's arrival. 

Bayern’s Indo-Pacific voyage underscores the security component of the Indo-Pacific Guidelines adopted by the German government in September 2020, through which Germany aims to strengthen its role as a shaping actor and partner in the region. The strategy is designed to intensify relations in and with the region and place them on a broader footing.

Open shipping routes are immensely important to the economies of Germany and Europe. By sailing of the “Bayern”, Germany is underlining the universal validity of this convention and the importance of freedom of navigation. The passage through the South China Sea is a central part of the voyage.

According to the German Embassy in Hanoi, Germany regularly underlines the significance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a comprehensive, universally applicable legal framework for all activities in the world’s oceans and seas. This applies in particular to the freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters enshrined in the Convention, as well as the right of innocent passage through coastal waters.

Together with France and the United Kingdom, Germany presented its legal position to the United Nations with respect to international law on maritime claims in the South China Sea in a joint Note Verbale in September 2020.

The Indo-Pacific is increasingly becoming a political and economic center of gravity. The region will have a decisive impact on the shape of the international order in the coming years. Germany’s Indo-Pacific Guidelines are therefore not limited to security challenges but set other priorities such as diversifying economic partnerships and strengthening international law, multilateral cooperation on climate protection, and security policy cooperation in the region.

Germany joined the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in August 2021.

 German navy officers at Nha Rong Port, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Jan 6.