Pacific charm campaign underway

Monday April 23, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

PACIFIC – UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters have plans to work closely in the Pacific region.

 

The pair discussed the United Kingdom’s plans to scale up its engagement in the Pacific, Peters said.

Peters and Johnson have agreed to work more closely in the Pacific, with Johnson describing the UK as “one of the Pacific’s oldest friends”.

“We want to play an even more valuable role as a partner to Pacific Island countries,” Johnson said.

“I made it clear that New Zealand welcomes these plans and offered practical support for the UK’s efforts,” Peters said.

Peters made the suggestion of regular discussions with the UK on Pacific issues, staff secondments, and practical development cooperation.

One example of collaboration would come in late 2019, when New Zealand was due to open a newly-built High Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on a site shared with the British High Commission.

“Our discussions also underlined the ongoing strength of the ties between us, as well as the scope that exists for even deeper cooperation in many areas – whether through policy dialogue on priority issues, secondments and exchanges between government agencies, or practical initiatives to work together domestically and around the world,” Peters said.

The UK and New Zealand would also co-host a forum on Pacific climate change issues in the UK in De-cember.

“Pacific Island leaders have shone a light on the grave impacts of climate change,” Johnson said.

“This forum will further highlight Pacific challenges and priorities, and show how the Pacific can be an early example for how to develop global responses to climate change.”

The United Kingdom has announced plans to open new diplomatic posts in the Pacific Islands, and estab-lishing regional collaborations to help clean up the ocean.

In the lead up to CHOGM Britain hosted a Ministerial Roundtable for representatives of Pacific Island Countries.

Johnson said the UK will be opening new embassies in Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga.

Even before the red carpet was laid out in London for Commonwealth leaders, a British charm offensive was playing out in the Pacific.

The Prince of Wales visited Vanuatu this month to inspect how the island nation has recovered from a recent devastating cyclone.       - PNC sources

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