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Penny Wong promises ‘new Australia’ to Pacific allies

Newly minted International Minister Penny Wong has delivered her first handle within the workplace, with a keynote speech on the Pacific Islands Discussion board.

Discussion board Secretary-Normal Henry Puna famous it was Wong’s first bilateral go to simply 4 days into the job.

“Your visit to Fiji, indeed, your first bilateral visit, represents a very strong shift in Australia’s regional outlook,” Puna stated.

International Minister Penny Wong talking in Fiji. (9)

He stated the discussion board welcomed the Labor authorities’s pledges to behave on local weather change and to undertake the Uluru Assertion From The Coronary heart.

Wong stated the “new Australian government” signalled a “new Australia” that may work cooperatively and in partnership with Pacific nations – notably on local weather change.

“I know the imperative we all share to take serious action to reduce emissions and transform our economies,” she stated.

“Nothing is more central to the security and economies of the Pacific.”

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2019.
Solomon Islands International Minister Jeremiah Manele and Chinese language International Minister Wang Yi. China is starting a diplomatic push into the Pacific. (AP)

She threw a jab out at earlier Coalition governments, saying Australia had “neglected its responsibility”.

“But whether it manifests in rising sea levels, or in disastrous bushfires and catastrophic flooding, climate change is happening across the Pacific family,” she stated.

Wong additionally took the chance to put out some great benefits of Australia as a strategic companion within the Pacific, at the same time as China embarks on a diplomatic blitz within the area.

“We understand the security of any one Pacific family member rests on the security of all, and we have a collective responsibility as we face these challenges to secure our region’s interest today and in the future,” she stated.

Pacific island nations have welcomed an Australian dedication to local weather change. (Getty)

“And as Australia’s foreign minister, I commit to working with you and to listening to you.

“We’ll stay a important growth companion for the Pacific household within the years forward.

“And Australia will be a partner that doesn’t come with strings attached.

“Nor imposing unsustainable monetary burdens. We’re a companion that will not erode Pacific priorities or Pacific establishments.”

Wong said the government would provide increased support and more work opportunities for Pacific Island people.

In the following question-and-answer session, Wong was forced to confront “the China query” directly, with Fiji media asking how Australia would work to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific, and how it might “discourage” Pacific nations from joining Beijing.

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The Foreign Minister worked carefully to strike a restrained tone – but didn’t give away much on specifics.

“I do not method the dialogue about China and China’s actions by wanting on the Pacific as whether it is summary from Australia,” she said.

“I take a look at this and consider what it’s we have to do to work collectively, to make sure that regional safety is fostered and supported by the area.”

“In the end, Pacific Island nations will make their selections about what agreements, what partnerships they interact in.

“What we would urge, as Australia, is consideration of where a nation might be in three or five or 10 years.”

On China’s criticism of Australia’s local weather change coverage, Wong stated it was true Australia exported “a lot” of coal to China.

However she stated the world financial system was going by way of a transition to scrub vitality, and Australia would too.

“I hope you get to ask as many questions of the (Chinese) foreign minister as you get to ask me,” she stated, prompting a rumble of laughter.

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