June 14, 2024

Pacific nations demand immediate action on climate change |  Current Asia |  DW

Pacific nations demand immediate action on climate change | Current Asia | DW

As China and the United States vie for influence in the Pacific region, island states there are banding together to fight the effects of global warming. Heads of state want to draw the attention of industrialized nations away from geopolitical wrangling and back to the climate crisis.

In a joint strategic paper prepared at a three-day summit in Fiji’s capital Suva, they called on the international community to take urgent action. Summit participants’ countries need “urgent, strong and transformative measures” to prevent “worst-case scenarios”.

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The US-China rivalry in the region also featured prominently at the summit. US Vice President Kamala Harris announced in a video message in Suva that Washington would open new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati. Also, a regional ambassador will be appointed and the region will get another $600 million as part of the fisheries agreement.

The US is strengthening its political presence in the region through economic support

China has been trying for some time to increase its military presence in the region. Beijing recently signed a far-reaching defense pact with the Solomon Islands. But in Suva, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware made it clear that his country has no plans to establish a foreign military base. Because that could make the island nation an “enemy” in the Pacific — and he can’t afford that.

laa/kle (afp, rtre)