Germany - Southeast Asia

A scanty overview of the German maritime security policy and a short view on German perception and expectations concerning sea trade and other important maritime issues

Essay 2009 12 Pages

Nautical Science



I. German security interests within the scope of the European security strategy

II. Consequences for a German security policy

III. Economical reasons for a glance to the Southeast

IV. Strategical reasons for a glance to the Southeast

V. Sea lanes, energy, trade, piracy and terrorism

VI. China, India and the problem of upcoming superpowers

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Julian Liese, Lieutenant

German Federal Armed Forces, Navy

Germany and Southeast Asia

- A scanty overview of the German

maritime security policy and a short view on

German perception and expectations concerning

sea trade and other important maritime issues -

T his comment shall give an insight into the German perception with regard to its own maritime interests in the Southeast Asian area. First, the objectives of the government will be lighted up. Secondly, military, as well as economic aspects of the maritime domain in Southeast Asia will be discussed. The main focus will lie on the area of the energy production industry, the container transport and India as an ambitious maritime power.

I. German security interests within the scope of the European security strategy

T aken from the European security strategy as off 12/12/2003, stated in a position paper concerning the security strategy for Germany, by the German political party CDU/CSU of the Bundestag[1] , the job of the German state is to preserve the values of the basic law according to right and freedom, democracy, security and well-being for the citizens of the country, to protect them against dangers and to protect the sovereignty and intactness of the German state as such. In addition duties and obligations which arise from the membership of Germany in alliances like NATO and the EU have to be taken into account. Consequently in consideration of the called risks for our security it lies in our interest to prevent, if possible, or to contribute to master regional crises and conflicts which can affect our security and interests in the place of their origin. Global challenges like the menace by the transnational terrorism, the wide spreading of weapons of mass destruction or the results of the climate change have to be taken to contribute to the esteem of the human rights, for the propagation of freedom, democracy and rule of law (good governance), to promote free world trade including a secure energy supply and raw material care as a basis of our prosperity and to reduce the gap between poor and rich world regions on the basis of the model of the social market economy.

The prosperity of the German society, as a main target for political action, is also part of the basic reasons for Germany’s efforts in the maritime domain of Southeast Asia, because in the last decades the world-economic development was marked by a rapidly progressing intensification of world trade and the international division of labour. Caused by the expansionary development of international goods, oversea trade and maritime journeys were and are among the boom sectors during the past years and now. In particular, the increase of globalization’s intensity, which occurred since the entry of the Republic of China to the general world trade agreement WTO in 2001, could hardly be foreseen[2].

To be able to cope with the political challenges of a maritime security strategy for Southeast Asia and to be able to use their chances at the best, Germany needs a strategical action plan, not only unilateral, but also coordinated with the transatlantic partners of the EU. It is nessacary to strengthen the strains of the countries of asia for more democracy, political stability and development, a successful anti-terrorism warfare as well as to faciliate a stronger regional cooperation. Compared to the past, Germany must create a net of allies and like-minded people in the region with which common political aims are pursued, more strictly now.

Germany’s periphery changes. By the forming of more and more non-state actors; by the rise of new powers like India and China; by the growing importance and influence of NGOs. New needs arise from these changes and, beside the possibilities of cooperation dealing with solutions of global and regional security problems, which could come to life, also new conflicts can originate by power movements on the international level.

II. C onsequences for a German security policy

The pursuit of its interests and strategic aims requires actions, that are more active, untimely, quick, coherent and robust, if necessary. Furthermore, these aims also need to be linked together more closely. This is valid for all instruments and abilities which are available in a crisis to cope and prevent a conflict.

Home protection, as the oldest and still highest goal of the basic law also encloses aspects of maritime security, such as the protection against possible terrorist attacks, the security of German ships and their routs and traffic, for the environment and for fishing. For the maritime security beyond German territorial waters on the high seas and - with approval of the respective partner nation - if necessary also in foreign territorial waters unequivocal juridical conditions for a more robust application of the German navy must be created against piracy or terrorism.

III. Economical reasons for a glance to the Southeast

During the last years the globalization has taken place with great intensity. Who invested in ships between 2001 and 2002 – now, rubs his hands. Huge profits have resulted. Maritime promotional capacities have become a scanty property. This encloses the harbour arrangements and hinterland bindings. A "fight for the quays" has broken out long ago. Long downtimes, but also increased security standards result in exploding costs.

How do the single limbs of the logistics chain, e.g. producers, forwarding agencies, harbour operators, shipping companies, but also state places or supranational organizations react to these challenges? And which chances open for investors?

First of all, the economic centre shifts to Southeast Asia.

Second, the decisions on production locations, now depend on a functional transport infrastructure more and more, beside low labour costs or the degree of the education.

Furthermore ships remain, by far, the most energy-efficient and most eco friendly vessel to carry goods and people within the range of transportation means. Special ships will pull the biggest inquiry on themselves.

"The progressive worldwide processes of integration [and] the […] dismantling of commercial obstacles and the increase to be expected of the prosperity in numerous regions of the world will also bring a clear expansion of world trade with themselves in future and require an expansion of the freighter journey and harbour capacities", according to Prof. Dr. Thomas Straubhaar, manager of the Hamburg world economy institute (HWWI)[3].

Then trade measured, in Euro, will expand with an average growth rate of suggested 6.6 percent during the next 24 years. At the same time the commercial volume will grow, in tones, merely about 3.3 percent p.a. in the same period, because increasingly the first (weight-reducing) refining steps take place in the raw material delivering countries themselves and, in addition, the trade of high-quality and relatively light industrial goods and consumer goods will increase between the regions themselves. The historical consideration of the distribution of goods on the different transport bearers (Modal Split) points to the fact that the traffic bearer's ship for the international exchange of commodities till 2030 might only change a little. Then the acceptance of a steady Modal Split implies that also the sea trade volume p.a. might expand about 3.3 percent.


[1] European security strategy from the 12.12.2003: Security strategy for Germany Decision of the CDU/CSU group of the Bundestag The CDU/CSU group of the Bundestag has decided on a position paper for the security conference of the group. The paper names Germany’s interests within the scope of a European strategy and draws the conclusions from it.

[2] Hamburgisches Welt Wirtschafts Institut http://www.hwwi.org/

[3] Hamburgisches Welt Wirtschafts Institut http://www.hwwi.org/


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Nanyang Technological University – Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies
germany southeast asia german



Title: Germany - Southeast Asia