Australia’s new Foreign Minister Penny Wong will visit Fiji tomorrow, in her first week in the role “to strengthen our Vuvale partnership and to discuss how we can best secure our region and help build a stronger Pacific family.”
In a statement, Wong says she will be meeting with Fiji Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Voreqe Bainimarama as well as other senior ministers and Fijian women leaders, ahead of next month’s Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders meeting.
“The visit, in my first week as Foreign Minister, demonstrates the importance we place on our relationship with Fiji and on our Pacific engagement,” Wong said. “Australia will listen to our Pacific partners as we work together to face our shared challenges and achieve our shared goals – including tackling climate change, pandemic recovery, economic development and regional security.”
During the visit, she will also meet Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Henry Puna, and deliver a speech at the Forum Secretariat on the new energy and commitments Australia is making to play our part in strengthening our Pacific family.
“These commitments include taking real action on climate change at home and with our region, as well as increased development assistance and security cooperation, and reforming and expanding our Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. I look forward to sharing our ideas on how we seek to bring together Australia’s defence, strategic, diplomatic, and economic capabilities to support our region’s priorities.”
Wong’s visit coincides with that of China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi who is expected to visit at least five Pacific Island countries, stopping over in Fiji this weekend.