Australian politicians arrive in Palau, one of the few Pacific nations to diplomatically favour Taiwan over China

Home Politics Australian politicians arrive in Palau, one of the few Pacific nations to diplomatically favour Taiwan over China
Australian politicians arrive in Palau, one of the few Pacific nations to diplomatically favour Taiwan over China

The tiny nation of Palau, which continues to defy pressure from Beijing to drop diplomatic ties with Taiwan, has welcomed a bi-partisan delegation from Australia as concerns grow over China’s rising presence in the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong flew into Palau’s capital late on Wednesday accompanied by her opposition counterpart Simon Birmingham, on the final stopover of a Pacific tour that’s also taken in Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

During a fleeting stopover in FSM, Senator Wong praised the “real leadership” of the country’s President David Panuelo, who this year urged other Pacific nations to reject a Chinese proposal for a region-wide security agreement.

“This country has been a leader. This has been a difficult time for the Pacific region,” Senator Wong told reporters standing next to the FSM president.

In May Mr Panuelo wrote a letter to Pacific Island Forum (PIF) members warning the proposed security agreement would hand China control of the region’s ocean territory and communications infrastructure.

When the letter was subsequently leaked it revealed details of the secret Chinese proposal sparking diplomatic pushback from Australian and the United States, and the ultimate rejection of the idea by PIF.

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