The German frigate Bayern is about to visit Vietnam in January 2022 on a six-month trip to the Asia-Pacific. The ship has just arrived in Singapore and is currently staying in the island nation for two weeks over Christmas, before heading to Vietnam.
The German Defense Ministry announced on Twitter: “The destroyer will stay here during the year-end holidays. After that, the ship will continue its voyage in the Indo-Pacific. Next stop: Vietnam.”
Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper reported that the frigate Bayern arrived in Singapore on December 20 as part of a six-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region – the first such mission of the German navy in nearly two decades.
Since leaving the Wilhelmshaven base in northwestern Germany in August 2021, the ship has passed through the South China Sea before arriving in Singapore and is expected to continue its journey to Vietnam from the beginning of January 2022, according to The Straits Times.
VOA has contacted the German Embassy in Vietnam to find out more about the visit of the Bavarian ship to Vietnam but has not yet received a response. The Vietnamese Ministry of Defense has not yet announced the warship’s visit to Vietnam.
USNI News quoted Kay-Achim Schönbach, Deputy Commander of the German Navy, as saying that the current six-month deployment of the Bayern (F217) to the Indo-Pacific is the first step towards biennial naval deployments to the area.
In a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, Mr. Schönbach said the deployment of the Bayern ship was to help the German Navy get acquainted with the area because the German warship last visited here more than 19 years ago. He said that, depending on the final decision of the German government, he intends to deploy German warships to the region on a regular basis, then potentially in coordination with the navies of other European countries and Transatlantic partners.
The warship is currently anchored at Changi Naval Base for two weeks over Christmas and New Year for refueling and maintenance, as well as resting for more than 200 sailors on board, the Straits Times reported.
The deployment of this warship to the Indo-Pacific region shows that Germany is joining other Western countries in expanding its military presence in the region amid growing alarms about China’s territorial ambitions.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared as the Bayern sailed for Asia in August: “The Indo-Pacific is where the future international order will be determined. We look forward to assuming responsibility and contributing to the process of shaping and maintaining the rules-based international order.”