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German General Eberhard Zorn said Wednesday the Bundeswehr will send warships to the Indo-Pacific and join allies in drills as China ramps up operations around Taiwan.
“We do not want to provoke anyone with our presence but rather send a strong sign of solidarity with our allies,” Zorn told Reuters. “We stand for the freedom of navigation and the safeguarding of international norms.”
Germany, which has been frugal on military spending in the second half of the 20th century, pledged to hike defense spending above 2% of its total GDP in February after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that Germany’s own stock of arms is depleted due to sending weapons to Ukraine, but pledged Monday to support Kyiv for “as long as it takes.”
Now, the country is also turning its attention to China, which has sent warplanes across the Taiwan Strait median line and fired missiles over the island in recent weeks.
Two US Navy warships passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, a practice that has been routine in recent years but now comes with increased tension following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Zorn told Reuters that the German military will also send troops to Australia for military exercises next year in an effort to “consolidate our presence in the region.”