On Monday, Berlin sent a warship to the disputed sea territory for the first time in almost two decades. The German warship thus joins other Western nations in challenging China’s military presence in the region. However, the German frigate is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait which is an activity condemned by Beijing.
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer saw the frigate leave a German port on its seven-month voyage to Australia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “We want existing law to be respected.
“We want sea routes to be freely navigable and open societies to be protected and trade to follow fair rules.”
China demands ownership of swathes of the South China Sea with its nine-dash line territorial claim.
READ MORE: Queen must ‘increase cyber security’ after threats from China
The news comes after Beijing launched multiple military drills as a British aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, entered the South China Sea.
China declared the British ship’s arrival a “colonial” action.
Beijing threatened that if the British ship “intrudes” on Chinese-claimed islands and reefs, it will be “expelled”.
China’s state media warned: “China will end the struggle between hegemony and anti-hegemony forces with the US.
“All other countries outside the region are advised to stay away from this confrontation to avoid ‘accidental injury.'”
China’s ill-defined nine-dash-line encircles a major part of the South China Sea.
The claim was first made public by the Republic of China in 1947, the maritime territory is still claimed by both Taipei and Beijing.