“Australia is the largest island in the Pacific… they have responsibility for the protection of the Pacific,” said Palau President Surangel Whipps Jnr supporting Australia’s participation in the AUKUS, a trilateral relationship between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Under the AUKUS programme, Australia will buy billions of dollars’ worth of nuclear-powered submarines from the United States.
Whipps said, “We want a free Indopacific,” and preparedness is important. “If we are not prepared, it can cause war.”
“We are part of the global community, and what is happening in Ukraine is against what we believe in,” said Whipps.
However, Pacific Elders wrote a statement opposing AUKUS, saying it is “triggering an arms race and bringing war much closer to home.”
The Pacific Elders claim that the over US$300 billion allocated to AUKUS and the militarisation of the Pacific “flies in the face of the Pacific Island countries which has been crying out for support for climate change.”
The Pacific Eldeers say climate change is the real threat to the Pacific, with many Pacific island countries already suffering the impact. The Elders raised the specter of the Pacific nuclear legacy. They urged Australia’s Prime Minister to comply with his promise to ratify The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and “become more aligned with a region concerned with nuclear justice for all survivors and affected communities.
SOURCE: ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS