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vlnr: Paul, Nackmayr, Wiegold, Bock

11th Maritime After Work Club (MAWC)

The Maritime Forum in the Capital (MHF) had invited to the British Embassy Berlin for the 11th Maritime After Work Club (MAWC) on Thursday, March 28, 2019.
Under the auspices of the German Maritime Institute (DMI) and the NATO COE CSW (Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters), the topic “On the Road to a New World Order. China as a driving force. What we can learn from the developments in the South China Sea and in the Arctic ” was discussed.

After the greetings of about 70 participants by the British Defense Attaché, Brigadier General Rob Rider, and the President of the German Maritime Institute, Vice Admiral retd. Hans-Joachim Stricker, the director of the NATO COECSW and commander of the operational flotilla 1, Rear Admiral Christian Bock, gave a short feedback to the Munich Security Conference (MSC), where a.o. “China’s intentions in the Arctic and how other states deal with it” was an issue. Which strategies are recognizable? China: partner or opponent? were relevant questions / aspects.

Followed by impulse lectures by:
Dr. Michael Paul, German Institute for International Politics & Security / Foundation Science & Politics (SWP), Berlin – Developments in the South China Sea. Conflict Potential and Escalation Levelsand
Commander (Res) Dipl.-Pol. Jörg-Dietrich Nackmayr – Arctic Affairs Adviser at the NATO Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters (COECSW), Kiel – Developments in the Arctic

Paul presented Asian-European trade relations and flows of goods, their scope, course and significance, as well as the influence of Chinese activities in the South China Sea.
“China claims 90% of the South China Sea and wants to secure it by expanding bases and layering civilian and military forces,” said Paul “maritime militia (mostly fishermen), a coast guard with more units than the Japanese Navy, and a navy of over 300 units larger than the US Navy (270-290 units) form these layers. ”

Nackmayr informed interested participants about China’s attempts to influence the Arctic, Greenland and Iceland.While China claims “historical ownership claims” in the South China Sea, it wants to have a say as a “near Arctic resident” (self-designation) in all matters below a military threshold. China’s top politicians visit the states, supplies are generated and aid is provided, and civilian radar facilities are set up.China sees itself as the “advocate of island populations”.”Special interest is given to the raw material uranium and the rare earths, less gas and oil” says Nackmayr.

The keynote speeches were followed by a panel discussion and forum discussion moderated by Thomas Wiegold, journalist and blogger (Augengeradeaus) from Berlin.
Questions about reactions to the behavior of the Chinese by NATO, Europe, the Federal Government and the German Navy formed the focus of the discussion.
“Updating NATO’s maritime strategy, demonstrating the Freedom of Navigation (FON Ops) through the presence of its own warships in the aforementioned sea areas, creating a situational picture and understanding the Chinese approach using intercultural competence” were identified as possible options for action.
“Even events like these contribute to the understanding and better assessment of the situation,” said the closing words of Rear Admiral Christian Bock.

In the subsequent small buffet and chilled drinks there was ample opportunity for an in-depth exchange with the speakers and further discussions. The term “Brexit” was heard more frequently in the British Embassy.

Text: Hartmut Renzel
Pictures: MHF/Bunks and Hartmut Renzel