Former Oz leaders apologise to Pacific
Looks like climate catastrophe is on the cards

China’s Pacific agenda leaves Australia dangling

Wang Yi chairs first foreign ministers meeting
China's foreign minister Wang Yi chairs the first China-Pacific Island foreign ministers' meeting, held virtually last week

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Last week’s meeting of Pacific Island foreign ministers with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, included commitments by China to increase its activity in addressing Covid, poverty reduction and climate action.

Wang chaired the meeting which included Soroi Eoe of Papua New Guinea, senior ministers from Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Henry Puna, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum.

During the meeting China announced three Pacific Island initiatives: the establishment of a reserve of emergency Covid supplies, a poverty reduction and development cooperation centre and a climate action cooperation centre.

It also intends to hold a China-Pacific Island fisheries cooperation and development forum before the end of this year.

According to a joint statement released by China, the meeting saw “an in-depth exchange of views” and said their “comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development had steadily deepened and produced fruitful outcomes”.

There were the usual invocations of equality “regardless of size, strength and wealth”, joint advocacy to “peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom”, “a community with a shared future for mankind” and “respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

And of course there was he standard reaffirmation by Pacific countries of “the one-China principle and the importance of upholding the principle of non-interference of internal affairs in international relations”.

The Pacific Island nations “commended China's major strategic achievements in containing the virus, and thanked China for actively providing medical supplies, vaccines, and financial support”.

China then announced the establishment of a China-Pacific Island reserve of emergency Covid supplies.

The nine leaders “expressed opposition to any attempt to obstruct vaccine cooperation”, a barb clearly aimed at Australia, which China has in the past accused of obstructing the roll-out of Chinese vaccines in PNG.

Agreement that the nations need to speed up the implementation of sustainable development in the region set the stage for China’s second announcement, that it will establish a China-Pacific Island poverty reduction and development cooperation centre. There is no indication of what exactly this will do or where it will be located.

China also said that before the end of the year it will convene a China-Pacific Island fisheries cooperation and development forum.

The ministers said their countries share the view that climate change is a major challenge facing humanity and that they are committed to jointly promoting the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and “a fair and equitable system of global climate governance”.

It was at this point that Wang announced that China will set up a China-Pacific Island climate action cooperation centre, although again no details were provided.

The striking feature of the meeting was China’s forthright move to stake claims for cooperation with the Pacific islands on Covid, development and climate by establishing what appears to be an institutional base for each issue.

Australia, still struggling for a coherent PNG and Pacific policy and drained of credibility when it comes to climate change, gives every appearance of being left behind in this contest for regional influence.

Comments

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Bernard Corden

"I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence." - Eugene Victor Debs

"As a rule, large capitalists are Republicans and small capitalists are Democrats, but workingmen must remember that they are all capitalists, and that the many small ones, like the fewer large ones, are all politically supporting their class interests, and this is always and everywhere the capitalist class." - Eugene Victor Debs

Lindsay F Bond

Goodo Charlene. Being now double vaccinated with AstraZeneca, I have expectation of living through this pandemic and along the way seeing reports of unvaccinated persons being in majority of cases treated by health services, both in Australia and in PNG.

By that knowledge there will be only sadness of each incident and sorrow in the by-passing of optimum in health provision.

What is becoming 'magni-tudinous' is the disparity of vaccination availability that is in PNG compared to that for folk in Australia.

So few in PNG have opportunity and as you are aware, so vocal are a swathe of PNG folk unwilling to take up the vaccine, because of its newness, and worse, they spread viral untruth.

For malaria the vector has been airborne, via mosquitos. For Covid it seems, the vector most detrimental to humans, is 'airborne', being minuscule pathogens carried on smallest of wetness in exhaled breath.

The other viral threat to folk in PNG seems to be also 'airborne', in the form of words said and heard. So go for clear air to breathe and 'clear air' knowledge.

Dave Ekins

China-Pacific Island poverty reduction centres are working well in most of the islands, particularly in PNG.

There are thousands of previously poverty stricken Chinese who have had their poverty reduced by taking over nearly all the commercial real estate in the country, small business operations and trade stores in the most remote places.

They are also cashing in on the road-side betel nut stalls. The same pattern of poverty reduction is occurring throughout Australia.

And the locals? Still wallowing in poverty and remaining spectators in their own land.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Charlene Nii tells me that students at UPNG are planning an anti-vaccination rally for Friday and have invited the public to join them.
_________

I hope sanity will prevail and the students will change their minds and avoid both spreading the virus and a confrontation with the RPNGC they will not win - KJ

Philip Fitzpatrick

Charlene Nii, Francis Nii's daughter was vaccinated today.

Good move Charlene.

Barbara Short

Ha! The sad story is that so many PNG people do not want to be vaccinated against Covid.

Circulating around on the PNG social media, Facebook especially, are stories and photos of people sick in hospital or dying, all because of having a Covid vaccination.

Attempts at trying to get PNG people to trust vaccinations are thwarted by well-meaning educated PNG people who don't seem to have any knowledge of what is going on in other parts of the world when it comes to trying to control the virus.

It amazes me how,compared to Fiji, PNG does not seem to have the ability to cope with this Covid crisis.

It also makes me very sad as I fear the death toll will rise.
________

There have been no deaths or hospitalisations reported in PNG as a result of people having had a Covid vaccination.
Diane Unagi, Caritas Australia’s representative in PNG, has written that the bulk of disinformation is by word of mouth rather than social or mainstream media - KJ

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/14/its-just-like-flu-misinformation-and-fear-hamper-papua-new-guineas-covid-vaccine-rollout

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