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Australia opens new Pacific embassies as Chinese influence grows
10:10 pm GMT+12, 04/05/2021, Australia

Australia opened embassies in the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia on Tuesday as Canberra accelerates its efforts to counter growing competition from China for influence in the Pacific.
 
Now with 19 missions in the Pacific, Australia has the largest diplomatic network in the region of any country.
 
Part of the federal government's Pacific Step-up was to be represented in every member of the Pacific Islands Forum, which has been achieved.
 
“The Australian embassy to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the consulate-general in French Polynesia are now working to support Australia's interests and increased engagement in our neighbourhood,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.
 
“We continue to strengthen our cooperation in areas such as maritime security, infrastructure, climate change and women's empowerment, as well as our support for the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting the region's economic recovery.”
 
“Australia is committed to continuing to work closely with our Pacific partners for a region that is prosperous and secure,” a joint statement from Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja read.
 
Australia now has 19 embassies in the Pacific, including new ones opened in the last three years in Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Palau and Niue..
 
SOURCE: REUTERS/PACNEWS


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