Australia wants to co-host climate summit with Pacific Islands

Sydney, Australia, May 26 (EFE) Australia, one of the world’s biggest polluters per capita, said it wants to co-host the COP29 Summit with the Pacific Island nations in 2024, the country’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Thursday.

In a speech before the Secretariat of the Forum of the Pacific Islands in Suva, Fiji, Wong said Australia wanted to co-host the event, adding that the country had proposed to be a co-organizer of the summit, hoping to have “further talks with the region” to finalize the plan.

Wong, who was sworn into office Monday two days after Labor won the Australian election, told the forum that the new government of Anthony Albanese has committed to reducing polluting emissions by 43 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

These climate policies, which are more ambitious than the 26 percent to 28 percent set by the Liberal-National coalition that ruled Australia for nine years, will be presented “very soon,” once they are legislated, before the United Nations, she said.

“We are going to listen and we are going to listen to your ideas on how we can face our common challenges and achieve our aspirations together,” said Wong, referring to the climate crisis, one of the most important problems in the Pacific due to the impact it has on the loss of their territories due to the increase in sea levels and the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

Wong’s trip to the Pacific intends to give a strong and clear signal of the shift in Australia’s foreign policy against this strategic region that depends on the international cooperation. In the past, it has requested Canberra’s cooperation, during the conservative management, to enact more decisive policies against the climate crisis.

Wong’s visit to Fiji also coincides with a 10-day tour of the region by a high-level Chinese delegation led by Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, to strengthen ties with several island countries after the first agreement announced last month between the China and the Solomon Islands.

The deal, announced last month without providing details, opens up the possibility of China sending security forces to the Solomon Islands if requested by Honiara, as is now the case with Australia or New Zealand, and has sparked fears that Beijing establishes military bases in the region.

“We are partners that do not impose ties or unsustainable financial burdens. We are a partner that will not erode the priorities or institutions of the Pacific. On the contrary, we believe in transparency,” Wong said. EFE


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