Australia has announced a security guarantee to Tuvalu, a Pacific Islands nation, in order to address military aggression, protect against climate change, and enhance migration. The pact is aimed at countering China’s influence in the Pacific. The treaty, announced by Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Kausea Natano, also includes Australia vetting Tuvalu’s security arrangements with other countries. Albanese described it as Australia’s most significant agreement with a Pacific Island nation, providing assurance that Australia will assist Tuvalu upon request for military support related to security issues. Tuvalu is one of the few countries to maintain official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, as China has been increasing its presence in the Pacific. The treaty requires both countries to mutually agree on any security and defense-related partnerships or arrangements with other states or entities in Tuvalu. This includes defense, police, port, telecommunications, energy, and cyber security arrangements. While Australia has defense agreements with other Pacific Islands nations, the Tuvalu treaty positions Australia as its primary security partner, particularly in light of China’s recent security pact with Solomon Islands and its efforts to expand policing ties and infrastructure projects in the region. As part of the treaty, Australia will allow 280 people from Tuvalu to migrate annually, which will contribute to remittances and help counter the threat of rising sea levels caused by climate change. Tuvalu requested the treaty to address the challenges of climate change and geostrategic threats. The annual visa cap is intended to prevent brain drain from Tuvalu. The treaty is seen as a significant step in Australia’s recognition of its role as part of the Pacific family. Additionally, funds will be provided for land reclamation in Tuvalu’s capital, Funafuti, to expand its land area by approximately 6%. Tuvalu is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and has been actively raising awareness about the issue. Last year, Tuvalu announced plans to create a digital version of itself to preserve its history and culture. Furthermore, Australia and the United States recently announced plans to fund a new undersea cable in the Pacific, which will connect Tuvalu to a cable for the first time. Australia views deeper economic and social integration with the Pacific Islands as crucial for regional security.
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