Kamala Harris and Anthony Albanese vibing over policies was never on my 2022 bingo cards but here we are. This is because, as per the ABC, America’s Vice President made some major announcements at the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji.
If you don’t know what the Pacific Islands Forum’s all about, then The Latch has you covered. It’s basically a bunch of governments in the Pacific chatting, doing trade agreements, and keeping the peace. Therefore, it was quite a surprise when America, a country that’s not on an island or near the Pacific, rocked up with some huge promises.
What Did Harris Announce?
Harris stated that the US would be opening two new embassies in this region. One will be in Tonga whilst the other one will be in Kiribati. She also announced her administration would appoint a new envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum.
But the promises don’t stop there. Harris pledged $500 million to the Forum Fisheries Agency in exchange for the right to fish in the region. Plus, to top it all off, she stated that Peace Corps volunteers will be brought back into this area.
Why Did Harris Make These Announcements?
The fact of the matter is this: Harris’ announcements probably have a lot to do with China’s involvement in the region. In recent years, China has been ramping up its diplomatic power in across the Pacific. According to The Guardian, they’ve been doing this by signing a security pact with the Solomon Islands and by trying to score economic deals with other Pacific countries. As the US and China aren’t quite chums, America is worried that if China gets too influential in this region, then they might be somehow compromised in the future.
What Is Anthony Albanese’s Take?
Because Australia is heaps closer to America than China, at least politically, Anthony Albanese was pleased with this development. The Australian reported that he said, “I welcome the increased engagement of the United States in the region to a significant support package that includes increased diplomatic presence, increased support in the form of aid, increased support in the form of infrastructure development here and it’s consistent with the decisions that we made at the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo a short time ago.”
Albanese also commented, “The message is clear that the United States has a presence in the Pacific and has for a long period of time. The presence of the US in the region is important.”
However, our PM didn’t speculate whether or not America’s announcement would upset China. He stated, “I’m responsible for Australia’s foreign policy. I’ll leave other countries to run theirs.”