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Frigates to the Far East: Western strategies for the Indo-Pacific

The frigate “Bayern” will set off from Wilhelmshaven for the Far East in August. On the voyage, the ship is to pass through the South China Sea. In February, France had sent a nuclear submarine to the region and held maneuvers there with the US and Japan. Britain plans to send the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Indo-Pacific for a few months in late 2021. US warships also regularly operate in the South China Sea, for example, as part of the US Operation Freedom of Navigation. The “Bayern” will stay away from US ships as well as from the twelve-nautical-mile zone around Chinese-controlled islands in the waters. These are cautious first steps in the Indo-Pacific, where the armed forces have not been active so far.

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