The second Australia and Germany 2+2 Security Policy Consultations between Foreign and Defence Ministries addressed key security and regional challenges faced by both countries.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton held the meeting virtually with Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Ministers committed to intensifying their co-operation in the Indo-Pacific, in support of an open, inclusive and resilient region with Australia welcoming the deployment of a German frigate in the Indo-Pacific in the second half of 2021.
Germany’s focus on implementing its new “Policy Guidelines for the Indo-Pacific” to step up its engagement provided a significant opportunity for strengthening co-operation in the region.
The ministers discussed the situation in the South China Sea and underlined the centrality of UNCLOS. The discussion reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight and that the 2016 South China Sea arbitration is final and binding on the parties.
The ministers discussed the importance of co-operating on countering cyber and hybrid threats, as well as disinformation. Ministers also exchanged their views regarding matters related to Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.
Following the meeting, Minister Payne and Minister Maas signed a new Australia-Germany Enhanced Strategic Partnership.
The 2+2 consultations highlighted the close and trustful relations between Berlin and Canberra. The new partnership lifts the bilateral relationship to a new level and commits Australia and Germany to a broader strategic alignment and joint support for the multilateral system and its institutions.