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Supplying security for world’s oceans

Germany, like South Korea is an export nation that relies heavily on the free access of shipping lanes across the oceans.

Previously, for Germany, its major exports headed across the Atlantic Ocean towards North America where there is never a problem with pirates.

“Maritime security is something that has become more and more important for Korea and for Germany. We are both export nations and we depend on free trade and the freedom of the seas,” said German Ambassador Hans-Ulrich Seidt.

But now that Germany has expanded its exports eastward, their goods have to travel across some of the most notorious pirate-infested waters in the world: the Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates continuously hijack ships, the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait.

Korea is in the same boat as Germany. While the supply lines are relatively safe going toward the Americas, the challenges lie going west through some of the most dangerous waters today.

To examine how the two countries can work together not only in maritime security but also in every aspect of international security, the German Embassy organized a conference last week bringing together military and civil society leaders from both sides.

The two-day conference examined general security and policy issues, the new NATO strategies, the new institutions of the European Union, in particular, situation center and intelligence sharing, energy security and supply lines and on their last day, maritime security issues.

“We cooperate on shared analysis, information gathering, and also common operational approaches,” he said. “Today we are already cooperating in the Gulf of Aden, this will continue, and we will also cooperate in the field of economic and technical cooperation.”

Along with Japan, Germany is the largest supplier of high-tech components found in the most complex ships built by Korean companies.

“We are cooperating in the field of submarines, very important, and there are many other fields of future cooperation in maritime security,” Seidt said.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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