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Australia, New Zealand leaders say ‘in lockstep’ on Pacific, climate -Breaking


© Reuters. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, shakes hands before a bilateral meeting in Sydney (Australia), June 10, 2022. Mark Baker/Pool via REUTERS


SYDNEY, (Reuters) – Leaders of Australia and New Zealand pledged Friday that they would “take their ties up to a new level” by collaborating more on regional security and climate change.

Anthony Albanese (Australian Prime Minister) stated the two countries have common concerns regarding the Pacific, as China pushes for greater influence.

Albanese stated that “We are in lockstep with the Pacific,” he told journalists in Sydney during a press conference held in conjunction with Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister.

He said, “The prime minister of Trans-Tasman Relations and I are determined”

China and the Solomon Islands have reached a security deal. This has caused consternation among the United States and their Australian and New Zealand allies. These countries, which for decades considered the Pacific Islands as part of their influence sphere, were shocked to learn that China had recently done so.

China dismissed these concerns, and continues to build ties. It claims it is not a military threat, and that development and prosperity are for everyone.

Recenty, 10 Pacific countries resisted China’s offer to sign a comprehensive trade and security deal.

Albanese was elected to office last month after winning the general elections. He promised Pacific Islanders that he would put more emphasis on combating climate change which is threatening their survival.

Ardern was the first foreign leader visiting Australia since the election. He welcomed Australia’s change of position on climate and said that it represented “an opportunity to reset” their relations.

Ardern stated that climate change was a major global problem, which is also affecting our Pacific region. He added, “Climate Change is a significant threat to our Pacific partners.”

According to her, the governments want to hear more voices from the Pacific Islands in the region, as many countries have not been able to voice their opinions despite lots of dialogue.

Ardern raised Australia’s controversial deportation policy during her meeting with Albanese. Albanese promised to work through the issues.

Australia expels foreigners convicted in crimes under an immigrant crackdown. Dual-nationals can be stripped of their Australian citizenship.

This policy saw hundreds deported to New Zealand by people who had fled their country as children.

Official data shows that 670,000 New Zealanders, or nearly 15% of Australia’s total population, live in Australia.