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Archive for Vanuatu

Newsline: Australia, Vanuatu top diplomats clinch security deal

Australia signed a security deal on Tuesday with the Pacific islands nation of Vanuatu, it said in a statement, amid concern over China’s military ambitions for the strategically important region. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong is visiting Vanuatu with a bipartisan delegation, as Australia steps up its diplomacy throughout the Pacific islands after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with Beijing in April. The security deal covers cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, policing, defence, border security, environment and resource security, cyber security and maritime and aviation safety and security, the statement said. Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Jotham Napat told reporters on Monday the Pacific island’s new government, elected last month, has not held security discussions with China. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/australia-vanuatu-strike-security-pact-covering-policing-defence-cyber-2022-12-13/) In May, China sought but failed to reach a wider security and trade pact with 10 out of 18 Pacific island nations. Australia and New Zealand have argued security and policing needs should be met within the region.

Newsline: Vanuatu’s top diplomat calls Australia a ‘close security partner’ for region

Australia is a close security and humanitarian partner for Vanuatu and the Pacific island’s new government has not held security discussions with China, Vanuatu’s foreign minister said on Monday. Vanuatu Foreign Minister Jotham Napat told reporters in Port Vila on Monday that Australia was “a close security partner of Vanuatu and the region”, where climate change was seen as the biggest security threat. “We also took the opportunity to acknowledge Australia’s role as Vanuatu’s primary humanitarian partner due to its close proximity and through its commitment to support Vanuatu, its disaster resilience, response and recovery capabilities,” he said. He pointed to the wharf and police barracks built with Australian funding as examples of security cooperation between the two nations. Vanuatu has “not established any security agreement, we have not even discussed any matter in relation to security” with China, he told reporters in response to questions. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/australia-close-security-partner-region-vanuatu-minister-2022-12-12/) Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong is visiting Vanuatu with a bipartisan delegation to open an Australia-funded wharf at a maritime police base, and hold talks on improving work and education opportunities in Australia for Vanuatu citizens. Australia stepped up its diplomacy throughout the Pacific islands after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with Beijing in April. China has been a significant lender for infrastructure projects in Vanuatu in recent years, building its parliament house and sporting stadiums.

Newsline: Vanuatu president says he asked for US embassy, not military base

Vanuatu’s State House has denied reports that the president asked for a US military base to be established in the country. This morning, the Daily Post newspaper reported Tallis Obed Moses making the request in a speech to members of the US Peace Corps. Mentioning the large US base on Luganville in the Second World War, President Moses reportedly asked the US to consider returning to Vanuatu. But State House said he asked for the US to consider opening an embassy in Vanuatu, not a military base. Vanuatu’s currently covered by the US Embassy in Papua New Guinea.


Newsline: New allegations Vanuatu Chinese embassy selling passports

Vanuatu’s departments of foreign affairs and immigration said that they are aware of new allegations it’s embassy in Beijing is selling passports in China. Vanuatu has had no ambassador in Beijing since the end of the contract of previous ambassador Willie Jimmy last year. but currently it employs a Ni-Vanuatu and a Chinese national. Both with diplomatic passports.


Commentaries: Lost in paradise, the EU’s embassy in the South Pacific

It’s hard to get much farther flung from Europe than Vanuatu. But although it may be 10,000 miles – and several oceans away – from Brussels, this remote archipelago in the middle of the South Pacific is the unlikely location for an outpost of the European Union. Up to seven staff run the EU’s delegation in Vanuatu, part of Brussels’s vast diplomatic empire that operates in 140 separate foreign offices, at a cost of more than half a billion euros (about £420 million) a year. It helps to oversee funds worth several billion pounds more. In total, the European External Action Service (EEAS) – the EU’s foreign office in all but name – employs an army of 3,417 staff, with just under 1,500 people in Brussels and almost 2,000 more in EU delegations – effectively embassies and consulates – across the globe. It is headed by Baroness Ashton, a Labour peer who was nominated for the post of EU high representative by Gordon Brown.


Newsline: Vanuatu sacks ambassador to Russia

Vanuatu’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Natapei, has terminated the appointment of Ti Tam Goiset as roving ambassador for Vanuatu to Russia and other Eastern countries. The termination comes after recent questions in parliament to the former government of Sato Kilman about a provision for Ms Goiset to earn commission on any foreign funding she secured for Vanuatu. After the removal of Sato Kilman as Prime Minister last week, Mr Natapei moved quickly to revoke Ms Goiset’s appointment.


Newsline: Vanuatu foreign ministry called on to step up after damning audit of Beijing mission

Vanuatu’s ministry of foreign affairs is being told to improve its systems at diplomatic posts after an audit report on the Embassy inChina. The auditors found the Beijing mission was poorly run and has identified corruption and mismanagement by officials and government leaders. “The audit report says the ministry should have a manual detailing what is required of staff working abroad. It says the staff should receive basic training before heading overseas. The auditors isolate the lack of contracts for most activities at the Beijing Embassy as a critical issue. They admonished the first ambassador, Lo Chi Wai, for taking a management fee for the Embassy. They say there was no contract for this and Mr Lo should return the money. The auditors say the ministry should have oversight of all spending and should secure and transfer funds to the Embassy as needed. The Beijing mission had failed to meet an outstanding rent commitment to Chinese authorities, and the auditors say this could have been embarrassing forVanuatu. The auditors suspect kickbacks have been paid to local businessmen, and mention the use of Vanuatu diplomatic plates on vehicles driven by local Chinese business people.”