Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong is leaving Australia for Samoa and Tonga, to “renew and strengthen Australia’s deep ties of friendship and family.”
This was confirmed in a press statement issued, by Wong’s office. Her second visit to the Pacific since being sworn in as Foreign Minister nine days ago.
“I look forward to listening to leaders in Samoa and Tonga about how the Australian Government can best apply the new energy and resources we are bringing to the Pacific.
We understand that we need to work together like never before, for our people and for generations to come.
We want to make a uniquely Australian contribution to help build a stronger Pacific family – through social and economic opportunities including pandemic recovery, health, development and infrastructure support, as well as through our Pacific labour programs and permanent migration.”
Wong said they will increase their contribution to regional security as they understand that the security of the Pacific is the responsibility of the Pacific family, of which Australia is a part.
“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Pacific family in addressing the existential threat of climate change. And we will deepen cultural and sporting ties.” The Minister said she will meet with the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II and Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
This will coincide with the 60th anniversary of Samoa’s independence being celebrated this week.
“In Tonga, I will meet leaders including Prime Minister the Hon. Hu’akavameiliku and Foreign Minister the Hon. Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu. Australia played a leading role in the international response to January’s volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, and I look forward to discussing what more we can do to help.”