Germany seeks more attention from China with Navy frigate Bayern crossing the South China Sea
Published: Dec 16, 2021 11:26 PM
German Navy frigate <em>Bayern</em> File Photo: Huanqiu.com

German Navy frigate Bayern File Photo: Huanqiu.com

The German Navy frigate Bayern started to cross the South China Sea on Wednesday with the hype of Western media outlets, emphasizing that this is the first time a German warship has entered the South China Sea in the past 20 years, which was planned to express opposition to China's territorial claims.

Again, this is the Western public opinion and the tactics of political elites to unnecessarily hype a matter and magnify its meaning to boost the morale in the West to exert collective pressure on China. Chinese people must not be fooled by them. If current international affairs are a big banquet, then I would compare this matter to a piece of soybean among many exquisite dishes.

Up to now, the German Navy has almost never carried out a mission that has attracted global attention. If it were not for the fact that they are riding the wave of China, the German frigate on the surface would be quieter than a submarine underwater. This is an era of competition for international influence. Public opinion in the US, the UK and other countries are focusing on the navigation of this German warship hyped by media. This is just what the Germans want. Germany may as well enjoy such free publicity.

In fact, navigation in the South China Sea has always been free and the innocent passage of warships has never been blocked. The US' so-called "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea deliberately create an image where China opposes free navigation in the area and stigmatize China's territorial claims and all of its South China Sea policies. At this time, the US particularly hopes that other Western countries can send warships to the South China Sea. This is because the US is like Don Quixote, which sees China as the windmill and attacks it with a spear. The US has a guilty conscience and needs other countries to come to the South China Sea to keep up its momentum.

Germany's act is indeed opportunistic. But we should understand that Germany is not China's geopolitical opponent. Germany is radical in ideology and human rights issues but it lacks reasons to really come to East Asia to join the China-US competition and take the US side. 

The new German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, comes from the Green Party and advocates transatlantic coordination. But she also speaks from an ideological and institutional position. They are not interested in Germany's really instigating animosity in the South China Sea.

When former German ambassador to China Michael Clauss was in Beijing, he invited me to dinner many times. From his complaints, I feel clearly that German people hope that China can pay as much attention to Europe as it pays to the US. Besides, they feel that China cannot produce everything, otherwise, Germany's advantageous industries may not be guaranteed. This is their concern.

The Bayern navigation in the South China Sea is another way of Germany calling China to "pay more attention" to the country. It is reported that Germany has requested permission to dock in Shanghai many times but China has refused because the message from this warship is too complicated. As far as I am concerned, it is good to give it a cold shoulder like this.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn