Singapore: German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has stressed his country's commitment to contributing to the Indo-Pacific region's peace and security, during a speech addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Sunday.
"And we are ready to strengthen our engagement in the years to come," Pistorius said, referring to the importance of solidifying European-Asian ties.
He added that European and Indo-Pacific partners "must defend the rules-based international order — no matter where it is challenged."
The defence minister's attendance of the Asia-Pacific security meeting comes after he addressed the Munich Security Conference in February. On Saturday, Pistorius made use of his presence in the meeting to hold talks on the sidelines with Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu.
The meeting, which includes talks with defence ministers and other government officials, is considered the region's most significant security forum.
Pistorius used his speech to reiterate his country's utter condemnation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He described it as "an attack on the foundations of international security architecture and the foundations of international law."
The German defense minister stressed the danger the invasion poses "for the world order as a whole."
"If Russia wins, the message to revisionist powers around the world will be that aggression and the unprovoked use of military force are acceptable and can be successful," he said. "Also here in the Indo-Pacific."
He thanked Asian countries who were quick to condemn the invasion for clarifying to Moscow that "the global community does not accept this illegal war."
"With dedication, it is opposing any attempt to undermine the rules-based international order, and any attempt to change the status quo by force — be it in Europe, in the Asia-Pacific or elsewhere," he said.
Pistorius hails the regional ASEAN union
Pistorius said Germany supports multilateral institutions, specifically the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He hailed the Asian union for its ability "to unite countries with a high degree of diversity in terms of history, ethnicity, religion and governance."
"We believe in the centrality of ASEAN – with its reach far beyond its geographical composition," Pistorius said. He added that Germany fully shares the union's "unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order."
Pistorius also recalled to Germany's efforts toward establishing a partnership between the Asian alliance and the European Union during its 2020 EU Council presidency.
The ASEAN alliance also helps to bring other major global powerhouses to the table, he added.
"It provides an excellent platform to maintain dialogue with all important players in the region — including, specifically, the US and China," he said.
The German defense minister welcomed a Saturday offer of the US administration to enter into negotiations with Russia and China on nuclear arms control, without pre-conditions.
Beijing declined an official invitation for a meeting between US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the Shangri-La Dialogue talks in Singapore.
"We will not get very far if we are not ready to stand up for the rules-based international order, also by contributing with military capabilities," Pistorius said. He gave the examples of enforcing United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea, as well as protecting sea lines of communication.
Pistorius confirmed that Germany would deploy next year maritime assets to the Indo-Pacific region, including a frigate and a supply ship.
In the face of rising geopolitical tensions, Pistorius said it is more important than ever to boost cooperation instead of confrontation.
"We need the rule of law instead of the rule of force," the German defence minister said.