New Australian missions in the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia to counter China
The Australian government has opened embassies in the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia on Tuesday amid rising influence and challenge from China in the Pacifric region, media reports said.
"Australia is continuing the growth of our strong ties with the Pacific, today opening two new diplomatic missions in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia.," a joint statement from Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja read.
"Australia now has official representation to every member of the Pacific Islands Forum, fulfilling a key commitment of the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up," read the statement.
"The Australian Embassy to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Consulate-General in French Polynesia are now working to support Australia’s interests and increased engagement in our neighbourhood," the statement said.
"We continue to strengthen our cooperation in areas such as maritime security, infrastructure, climate change and women’s empowerment, as well as our support for the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting the region’s economic recovery," read the statement.
The Australian leaders said the country is committed to continuing to work closely with Pacific partners for a region that is prosperous and secure.