Penny Wong, Simon Birmingham lead bipartisan trip to Pacific Islands

Home Politics Penny Wong, Simon Birmingham lead bipartisan trip to Pacific Islands
Penny Wong, Simon Birmingham lead bipartisan trip to Pacific Islands

Foreign Minister Penny Wong and her opposition counterpart Simon Birmingham will travel to the Pacific Islands this week in what will be the first bipartisan trip to the region since 2019.

They will be joined by Pacific Minister Pat Conroy and his coalition counterpart Michael McCormack.

The group will visit Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau, as part of their shared commitment to working with Pacific partners to achieve our “shared vision for a peaceful, prosperous and resilient region”.

The trip comes a week after a bipartisan visit to Taiwan, which angered China but which both sides of government said was a return to “business as usual”.

Senator Wong said the trip would be an opportunity to address “regional challenges”, including the strategic might of China.

“I am pleased we are delivering on the Albanese government’s promise to reinstate bipartisan parliamentary delegation visits, demonstrating Australia’s enduring commitment to strengthening our Pacific partnerships,” she said.

Senator Birmingham said he was looking forward to “listening and learning” from Pacific leaders and communities, as the region faced “genuine challenges”.

“This is a welcome opportunity to again demonstrate that Australia’s engagement with our Pacific neighbours is of the highest priority and transcends domestic politics,” he said.

During the trip, the group will meet with Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, FSM President David W. Panuelo and Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.

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