Fiji’s Prime Minister says the country cares about one issue more than tensions between China and western nations like Australia.
Climate change matters more to Fiji than geopolitical tensions between China and western nations, the Prime Minister of the Pacific island nation has said following a visit from Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong.
Frank Bainimarama said it was “wonderful” to meet with Ms Wong on Friday as she continued the Albanese Government’s charm offensive in the region.
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says it was “wonderful” to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong. Picture: Twitter
“Fiji is not anyone’s backyard, we are a part of a Pacific family,” he said on Saturday.
“And our greatest concern isn’t geopolitics — it’s climate change.”
In a statement posted to the Fijian government’s Facebook page Mr Bainimarama said Anthony Albanese was to be “commended” for his “strong mandate” to do more to deal with climate change.
For Ms Wong the visit to Fiji was her first solo overseas trip as Minister and it coincides with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s tour of Pacific Island nations.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has made a visit to Fiji a top priority. Picture: Pita Simpson/Getty Images
Ms Wong said her visit would help strengthen an economic and security pact between Fiji and Australia, known as the Vuvale Partnership,
“I valued the opportunity to listen to the Prime Minister and learn from his important insights as a global leader on climate change,” she said,
“Regional unity has never been more important as we face unprecedented challenges with COVID, climate change and strategic contest.”
Mr Bainimarama said relations between Australia and Fiji had already been strengthened through the Vuvale Partnership, which the former Morrison Government signed off on in 2019.