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Palau’s new president vows to confront “bullying” China | Palau

Palau’s president-elect has vowed to confront China’s “bullying” in the Pacific and said the small archipelagic state would support the alliance between its “true friends”, the United States and Taiwan.

52-year-old Surangel Whipps Jr., a supermarket owner and two-time senator from Palau’s prominent family, will replace his brother-in-law Tommy Remengesau Jr. on January 21st.

In a frank interview with the Guardian, Whips said the United States has been a trusted friend of Palau for many years and has recently shown that it has been vaccinated with 6,000 model nacorona virus vaccines as part of Operation Warp Speed ​​in the United States. ..

“It is important for each country to share the values ​​of supporting and cooperating with each other. There seems to be competition. [between the US and China] But that’s their competition. It’s about what we believe. “

“There is the idea that the United States and China are competing. I think the real meaning is the exercise of freedom and democracy. In many cases, the big powers want to bully the small ones. For us. It is important to have a strong partner that exists in. “

In December, the US Coast Guard and Palau’s maritime authorities seized a Chinese fishing vessel suspected of illegally harvesting sea cucumbers in Palau’s territorial waters.

“This is to secure our borders, and other countries that do not respect the borders of other countries are unacceptable,” Whips said.

“We must stop stealing and offering bribes. We must stop illegal fishing. As a nation, we also take responsibility for our people and go to other countries to do this. You should tell them not to do it, “he said.

A Chinese fishing boat detained by Palauan authorities on suspicion of illegally harvesting sea cucumbers. Photo: Richard Brooks / Lightning Strike Media Productions

Whips said countries that want to be considered global leaders should be responsible for the actions of their citizens.

He said he was the retired Vice President of Palau and that the country’s Minister of Justice also tried to contact the Chinese government about the illegal entry of the ship into Palau.

“But they don’t seem to care and it’s unacceptable. They have to take responsibility for their people, and it’s like they encouraged them by ignoring them. That’s not good. “

Whips also promised that Palau would formally approve Taiwan and maintain close ties with Taiwan, despite China’s growing presence in the Pacific.

“Palau’s position as a friend of Taiwan has caused a lot of collateral damage to Palau. Other countries that do not like this relationship are promoted by Palau in the international community such as the United Nations and other Pacific organizations. I’m trying to confuse what I’m doing, and I think that’s the nature of the great powers that want to be teased, “Whips told the Guardian.

Palau is one of the 15 remaining diplomatic allies in Taiwan and only one of the four remaining in the Pacific (after the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched in 2019). As a keen show, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu will attend Whips’ presidential inauguration this week, and given the low number of cases in Taiwan and Palau, the two administrations will discuss the travel bubble. I am.

But Palau’s loyalty to Taiwan was not without consequences: the country is subject to an informal travel ban for Chinese tourists who have hurt the country’s tourism-dependent economy.

Palau's largest city, Koror.
Koror, Palau’s largest city.

Whips was portrayed as a generational shift during the vibrant yet relatively friendly presidential campaign, which took place twice in October and November. Palau’s election cycle reflects that of the United States, which has a Compact of Free Association pact covering military cooperation and financial assistance.

Whips said that resuming Palau’s tourism-dependent economy after Covid was a priority and hoped to vaccinate most of its 18,000 population by the summer of the Northern Hemisphere.

But he said climate change presented Palau’s greatest long-term challenge. Most of the population lives by the water, and the only hospital in the country is near the coast and is at risk of being wiped out by typhoons and storm surges.

“We see [climate change] On a daily basis, others don’t, “Whippeds said. “We need to make people understand that threats are real, especially to the great powers, and we need to work together to find a solution.”

Palau’s new president vows to confront “bullying” China | Palau

Source link Palau’s new president vows to confront “bullying” China | Palau

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