Germany on Monday sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region.
The U.S. Navy regularly conducts so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in which their vessels pass close by some of the contested islands.
China objects to the U.S. missions, saying they do not help promote peace or stability.
Officials in Berlin have said the German navy will stick to common trade routes. The frigate is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait either, another regular U.S. activity condemned by Beijing.
Germany is walking a tightrope between its security and economic interests as China has become Berlin’s most important trading partner.—Reuters