The Fiji TimesAustralia’s Wong to go to Pacific in bipartisan effort to spice up ties

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s international minister will likely be a part of a bipartisan group of Australian politicians set to journey to Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau this week in a bid to bolster regional ties.

The group includes Overseas Affairs Minister Penny Wong, senior authorities minister Pat Conroy, and their opposition counterparts, the politicians stated in a joint assertion on Sunday.

Australia has been working to shore up its standing within the Pacific amid rising affect from China, which entered a safety pact with the Solomon Islands in April.

U.S. ally Australia has for many years seen the area as largely its sphere of affect. This yr, each China and Australia launched senior-level visits to the Pacific.

The politicians stated they might meet Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo and Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.

Discussions would cowl growth goals, the “existential menace” of local weather change, and key regional safety points, the politicians stated of their assertion.

The group, whereas in Vanuatu, would attend a ceremony for the handover of a brand new wharf and police boat “as a part of Australia’s enduring cooperation on shared regional safety pursuits”.

“I’m happy we’re … demonstrating Australia’s enduring dedication to strengthening our Pacific partnerships and addressing regional challenges,” Wong stated.

It’s the first government-led bipartisan go to to Pacific island nations since 2019, they stated.

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