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Tuvalu

No ill will towards China

Tuvalu has no ill feelings towards China despite its claim that the bigger nation sabotaged and interfered with its contingent to the recent United Nations Ocean Conference.

Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe who is known to be a climate and oceans champion, pulled out of the Ocean Conference as a result.

The Tuvalu contingent reached Lisbon in Portugal minus Mr Kofe. The minister’s work in climate and ocean activism has led to a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe at the PIF in Suva. Picture: Simon Kofe Twitter

China used its influence to force Tuvalu to exclude Taiwanese officials that were part of its group.

Mr Kofe raised the issue at the Forum Foreign Ministers meeting on Friday, stating that the issue is not China but a nation using its influence against a smaller developing nation.

He said Tuvalu, like all other Pacific nations, want things to be done in a Pacific way.

“I want to emphasize that we do not want an antagonistic relationship with China. We do not have diplomatic relations with China, and we stand strongly against any attempts by China to act aggressively towards Taiwan,” he said.

Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe (R) with Solomon Islands foreign minister Jeremaia Manele. Picture: Simon Kofe Twitter

“We also lobby for the necessity of including Taiwan in important fora like the WHO as a member of the global community.

“We support Taiwan, we support transparency and accountability in our region, and we do not support the militarisation of the Pacific by any party. However, we respect the decisions of our Pacific partners, we respect their sovereignty, and we only wish them the best in their diplomatic efforts.”

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This week Pacific leaders will be in Suva where the Pacific Islands Forum is due to hold its leaders meeting. China and the geopolitical tensions will be raised even though the biggest focus will be the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Mr Kofe said Tuvalu was an example of a nation facing real time existential threat from climate change.

According to Mr Kofe, Tuvalu will be seeking to promote with forum members strategies for preserving Tuvalu’s maritime boundaries and statehood in the face of land erosion due to sea level rise.

Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe addressing the COP 26. Tuvalu has no ill feelings towards China despite its claim that the bigger nation sabotaged and interfered with its contingent to the recent United Nations Ocean Conference. Picture: Simon Kofe Twitter

“We will be pursuing bilateral and multilateral efforts toward this end throughout the meeting,” he said.

“At the Leaders Meeting, we are dedicated to enhancing the strength of our Pacific regionalism via the 2050 Strategy and the Suva Agreement.”

This year has been a real test of unity for the Forum. Something had to give to secure the support of the Micronesian states, who if not offered the deal, were ready to part from the Forum.

But the Suva Agreement put an end to this division and the Pacific is united again. The outcomes of the leaders meeting will decide the future for the Pacific.

At this point in time, the balance of power is with the Pacific, and the Forum will need to decide which way to head to ensure that the region is able to maintain its sovereignty and not give in to outside influence.

Tuvalu's foreign minister Simon Kofe with New Zealand foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta. Picture: Simon Kofe Twitter
Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe with New Zealand foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta. Picture: Simon Kofe Twitter

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