CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has signed a new defense pact with the Oceania island nation of Vanuatu as part of an ongoing competition with China for influence in the Pacific.
The new security agreement covers humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, law enforcement, cyber security, defense, border security and maritime security. The full text of the agreement has not yet been published.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that our sovereign decisions improve the security of all members in the Pacific, and we are proud to be a key security partner of choice for Vanuatu,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong told reporters in the port capital on Tuesday. Rib.
Earlier this year, China signed a defense agreement with the Solomon Islands. Raises a warning In the South Pacific it would lead to a military buildup. China too The attempt failed 10 Pacific nations to sign a massive pact covering everything from defense to fisheries.
Australia has been countering China’s moves with its own Pacific island-hopping diplomatic missions.
Wong said how Pacific countries want to interact with Australia, the level of cooperation they want and the decisions they choose to prioritize are all important to each individual country.
The delegation led by Wong also participated in the handing over of the new wharf and a police boat. The wharf was built as part of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Defense Project.
From Vanuatu, the delegation proceeds to Palau and then to Micronesia. Jackal is one of the few remaining countries to maintain diplomatic relations Taiwan than China.
Palau President Surangal Whipps Jr. said the economy should not be used to influence its policies.
“There is a lot of Chinese investment in Pala. I think they are now the number 1 foreign investor. It changes the political dynamic,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “There is pressure on us to switch to China, and Palau has been strong, we are nobody’s enemy, everybody’s friend, nobody should tell us who we are. To have friends.”
Whipps praised Australia for increasing its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 43% by the end of the decade, but wanted it to go further.
“We want to see a 50% reduction by 2030,” he told the broadcaster.
Many Pacific nations see climate change as their greatest challenge and existential threat, as sea levels rise and strong storms threaten to swamp many low-lying islands.
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