May 23, 2024

Germany’s foreign minister arrived on Thursday evening in Australia for a trip that will also take her to New Zealand and Fiji.

Annalena Baerbock landed in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, after a flight of almost 19 hours that was interrupted only by a refuelling stop in Bali.

She flew on an A350 German government aircraft named Konrad Adenauer, a former German chancellor.

Her flight was being closely watched. In August of last year, Baerbock’s same three-nation trip had to be abandoned due to repeated technical malfunctions on an older government aircraft that has since been taken out of service. She never made it beyond Abu Dhabi.

On Friday, Baerbock plans to meet Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, visit a cybersecurity centre and an Australian Navy post in Adelaide.

From Adelaide, she is due to travel on to New Zealand on Friday evening and then on Sunday become the first German foreign minister to visit the island state of Fiji in the South Pacific.

In total, she will cover around 43,000 kilometres and spend more than 50 hours on the plane.

Baerbock noted before leaving Berlin that the region is becoming increasingly important to Germany for strategic and economic reasons, especially given tensions with China over espionage allegations, trade, Taiwan and the contested waters of the South China Sea.

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