December 06, 2021 12:38
Crew of the 3,600-ton German frigate Bayern visited the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan and the demilitarized zone last weekend.
The FGS Bayern, which monitors illicit ship-to-ship transfer of goods by North Korean vessels, arrived in Busan last Thursday and leaves on Monday. This is the first time in 20 years that Germany has sent a naval vessel to the Indo-Pacific.
A diplomatic source said on Sunday, "The captain and crew of the FGS Bayern have met Vice Adm. Lee Jong-ho, the chief of the Naval Operations Command, and paid their respects at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan."
Germany sent 117 medical personnel to South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. The Bayern crew also visited the DMZ, where they were briefed on the defense of the frontline.
The German naval vessel left its home port in August. It had planned to dock in Shanghai in September, but China refused. Last month, it arrived in Tokyo instead and took part in a joint maritime exercise with the U.S., Japan, and Australia.
In a press release last Thursday, the German Embassy in Seoul said that the sailing of the Bayern is a signal that Germany wants to intensify activities in the Indo-Pacific region, which is emerging as the geopolitical axis of the world in the 21st century. Germany wants to take responsibility for maintaining the rules-based international order, it added.
In protest, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said, "Germany's dispatch of a naval vessel to the faraway Asia-Pacific region to participate in surveillance operations in waters around the Korean Peninsula is an undisguised act of hostility to side with the U.S."
Military activities by Western countries like the U.K., France and Germany, as well as the U.S., have increased in the Indo-Pacific seas recently as a new cold war against China intensifies.
In August, the 65,000-ton British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and its fleet conducted a joint maritime exercise with the South Korean Navy in the East Sea.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com