Australian FM visits Fiji to strengthen bilateral ties

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-05 19:03:38|Editor: xuxin
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SUVA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne is in Fiji for a three-day official visit, aiming to deepen its security, economic and people-to-people links with the South Pacific island nation.

Speaking at a Press Club lunch organized by the Fijian Media Association on Wednesday, Payne said that both Australia and Fiji were on track to finalize a new agreement to be inked when Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama visits Canberra later this year.

As for the two-way trade in goods and services, the foreign minister said that this totalled more than 2 billion Fijian dollars (about 92.99 million U.S. dollars) in the year to July 2018.

Australia would soon establish the infrastructure financing facility to fund climate change resilient developments, she said, adding that Canberra would continue its climate change work by supporting their Pacific families' own efforts.

The facility will receive 2 billion Fijian dollars (about 92.99 million U.S. dollars) for initiatives around the Pacific region.

For the cooperation with Fiji in the fields of defence, business and sports, she said that there was a lot for the two countries to look forward to as Canberra's "Pacific step up" program grew.

Last year, Canberra committed to strengthening its engagement in the Pacific region with its "Pacific step-up" program and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Fiji in January to lift the two countries relationship to the level of "a family partnership".

Payne, who arrived in Fiji later Monday, also met with Fijian leaders and government ministers like Fijian Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu.

She also visited the Fiji military's Black Rock camp, a regional peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance and disaster response center, in the country's third largest city of Nadi, which Canberra pledged to turn into a world-class place of learning for regional peacekeepers.