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Baerbach leaves for Australia – signal to China

Baerbach leaves for Australia – signal to China

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach resumes her tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

In one of her longest journeys to date, Annalena Baerbach will cover around 43,000 kilometers, the equivalent of traveling around the world, and spend more than 50 hours on the plane if all goes well. – Sina Schult/tba

Union Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach wants to send a signal to China with her week-long visit to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Before leaving for the South Australian capital of Adelaide on Wednesday, he stressed how important it is for democracies to stand together as they compete with authoritarian regimes.

Australia and New Zealand will “get more violent gusts of wind more directly than us”, the Green politician said. They have a lot of experience with their authoritarian neighbors, “and his foreign policy toolkit includes economic pressure measures and testing our democracy through espionage and other influence measures.” Beyerbach mentions the arrest of three Germans a few days ago on suspicion of spying for China.

Asia's most militarily and economically powerful country is becoming more and more aggressive towards its neighbours. The Communist People's Republic has territorial disputes in the South China Sea with countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines and claims the Democratic Island Republic of Taiwan as its own territory. Beijing has repeatedly threatened to invade.

Germany's involvement in the Pacific region

The central government has decided to be more involved in defense policy in the region around the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, hence sending the warship “Baden-Württemberg” there for the second time next week for training purposes. “Security in Europe depends on security in the Indo-Pacific – and vice versa,” Beierbach emphasized.

“If the international peace order comes under pressure on one side of the world, it will crumble on the other side of the world.” The minister pointed out that Australia and New Zealand are among the non-NATO providers of military and financial aid to Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia.

Over 50 hours of flight for 43,000 kilometres: Baerbock flies to Adelaide with a stopover in Bali, Indonesia. On Friday evening we head to Auckland, New Zealand, and from there on Sunday to Fiji, which stretches over 300 islands in the South Pacific.

A major focus will be on climate change, the effects of which affect Fiji more than any other country in the world. Villages there have already had to be relocated due to rising sea levels. In one of his longest journeys till date, the minister will cover around 43,000 kilometers, which is equivalent to circumnavigating the globe, and will spend more than 50 hours on the plane if all goes well.

A series of malfunctions in government aircraft

He had originally intended to visit Australia and Oceania in August, but a series of malfunctions on his government plane in Abu Dhabi got stuck on the way there and he returned to Germany on a planned flight without achieving anything.

Now the journey will take a slightly different route. In Adelaide, in addition to his political discussions, Perbach will also visit the Osborne shipyard, where Bremen-based company Lürssen builds patrol boats for the Australian Navy. This underlines the desire for greater arms cooperation with Australia.

In addition, a ceremony is planned to return cultural assets that were sent to Germany by German missionaries in the 19th century and are now to be returned to the Kaurna tribe. The Grassi Museum in Leipzig brought them back to Australia last year after the trip was canceled and the handover by Beyerbach failed.