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Australia, New Zealand Share Common Outlook on Pacific

Australia and New Zealand are in lockstep in their policies toward the Pacific Island Countries (PICs), where the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is attempting to grow influence, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters at a news conference with then-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She was the first foreign leader to visit Albanese in Australia since his election in May 2022.

Australia, New Zealand and the United States have voiced concerns that a new Beijing security pact with the Solomon Islands could result in a Chinese military base being established there. The Solomons and the PRC have denied that will happen.

“We’re in lockstep on the Pacific,” Albanese said. “I look forward to working with Prime Minister Ardern, working with our democratic neighbors.”

Albanese said his administration promised greater action on greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the low-lying PICs consider climate change their most pressing and existential threat.

“The Pacific region has listed climate change as its No. 1 threat,” Ardern said. “I know with regards to New Zealand we have a lot more to do, but we welcome being joined on that journey by Australia.”  The Associated Press

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