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China wins over PIF

Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henery Puna has made it clear to China that the Pacific would like to engage on the issues of climate change, post COVID recovery and the Blue Strategy.

Mr Puna met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Forum Secretariat in Suva on Sunday. Mr Wang is on his Pacific tour and as he goes from nation to nation, China is attempting to enter into agreements with each of them.

Mr Puna told Mr Wang that China was a long standing and important Forum Dialogue Partner and development partner to the Blue Pacific region.

“Our Forum Leaders have identified climate change as the single greatest threat facing our Blue Pacific region. Action to keep our world below 1.5 degrees is vital for the future prosperity and wellbeing of our region,” Mr Puna said.

“We welcome China’s climate change commitments and as we look to COP 27 in Egypt and call on all our international partners to submit enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 1.5 degrees pathway and net zero by 2050.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Henry Puna and the forum’s key staff. Picture: Pacific Islands Forum

“Secondly, COVID-19 economic recovery. As our Pacific borders re-open and we adapt to life with COVID-19, we invite greater engagement with China to learn from and connect with your economic innovation and your education, trade, and business development opportunities.

“Thirdly, our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. When our Forum Leaders meet very shortly here in Suva, they will consider and endorse the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.”

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Mr Puna said the 2050 Strategy was developed by the 18 members of the Pacific Islands Forum to chart their course for the next three decades.

He said this will respond to and guide collective efforts to address the Pacific’s current challenges.

“It will also harness our shared strengths – our culture and heritage; our island and ocean resources; our natural environment,” he said.

“We invite China, and all our international partners, to work with us in taking forward our ambition and determination for a sustainable inclusive future for all our people.”

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