Tuvalu accepts Australia’s security, climate pact

Australia and Tuvalu are moving forward with a pact concerning security and climate migration, as confirmed by Australia’s Pacific minister, Pat Conroy, in parliament. Despite initial uncertainty sparked during Tuvalu’s election season, the agreement remains intact following assurances from the new Tuvaluan government not to alter its terms.

The pact, announced in November, faced uncertainty amid Tuvalu’s election campaign, as the tiny Pacific atoll of 11,000 residents grapples with the threat of rising sea levels. In February, Feleti Teo assumed the role of prime minister after a closely watched general election, highlighting geopolitical interests from Taiwan, China, the US, and Australia in the South Pacific region. Tuvalu stands as one of Taiwan’s three remaining Pacific allies, following Nauru’s decision to sever ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing.

Conroy emphasized the commitment of Tuvalu’s new government to proceed with the Falepili Union, as he presented the agreement for parliamentary ratification. Australia pledges to respect Tuvalu’s sovereignty and collaborate closely to ensure its preservation.

Under the pact, Australia pledges assistance to Tuvalu in case of natural disasters, pandemics, or military threats, contingent upon Tuvalu’s request. Any additional security or defense arrangements involving third parties must be mutually agreed upon by Tuvalu and Australia.

The agreement permits the annual migration of 280 Tuvaluan individuals to Australia, while also acknowledging Tuvalu’s continued statehood even in the event of climate-induced sea level rises inundating its land.

Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, hailed the pact as the most significant agreement between Australia and a Pacific partner since Papua New Guinea gained independence in 1975.

As of now, Tuvalu’s government has not provided immediate comment on the matter.

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