Interesting times with a number of countries making statements of varying strength in the South China Sea.. even the Germans.
"The German Navy dispatched the frigate Bayern on a long voyage to the South China Sea, showing its support for the multinational effort to offset Chinese expansionism in the region. The trip will take seven months, and it will see Bayern joining a NATO exercise in the Mediterranean and the EUNAVOR anti-piracy mission off Somalia on her way east. She will call in Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Australia in addition to transiting the South China Sea. China is not currently on Bayern's itinerary, and Chinese officials have said that they will not host the vessel unless Germany clarifies the frigate's mission. www.maritime-executive.com/article/german-frigate-departs-for-the-south-china-sea
The Netherlands also sent its De Zeven Provinciën-class guided missile frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805) with the UK Carrier Strike Group for the duration of the deployment.
The New Zealand Defence Force is to participate in an international defence exercise in South East Asia and will also interact with the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as it conducts engagement activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and replenishment tanker HMNZS Aotearoa, with a Seasprite helicopter on board, have this week departed Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf for the next 2-3 months at sea.
Aircrew on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion will join the naval Task Group for Bersama Gold 21, a major exercise on the international calendar marking the 50th anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). The Orion will also interact with the UK CSG.