Pacific news in brief for March 25

Pacific – climate

A major milestone was reached at the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, after the deadline for State written submissions closed last Friday, campaigners say.

The ICJ climate justice advisory opinion (ICJAO) aims to clarify international legal obligations countries have when it comes to safeguarding people from the impacts of climate change.

This follows the landmark resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the ICJ, adopted by consensus at the United Nations General Assembly in March last year, to see human rights and intergenerational equity placed at the forefront of climate decision-making.

A Greenpeace spokesperson said Pacific states have been at the forefront compiling their responses to the legal questions and gathering evidence.

Fiji – cooperation

A government minister says Fiji will continue police cooperation with China, but won’t have Chinese officers stationed inside its force.

Benar News reports a review was done of security relations.

Under its policing pact, Fijian police officers undertook training in China, Chinese officers had regular short-term deployments in Fiji, and China donated equipment and surveillance technology such as drones.

Fiji Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua told the ABC the memorandum of understanding with China’s Ministry of Public Security was unchanged following the review, but Fiji decides what it implements.

He said the government will reassess every six months.

Samoa – disaster

The US government has given US$2.6 million to Field Ready, a project to reduce disaster risk in the Pacific Islands.

Samoa’s Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said this project is set to assist at least 100,000 people across the Pacific, including 26,000 in Samoa.

The money is to support the roll-out of the third phase of this project, including the expansion of work in Samoa.

This will be done by strengthening local supply chains in Samoa and other island nations.

The programme operates from a regional hub in Fiji and is active across five Pacific countries: Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands – hypersonic

The US Air Force has tested a hypersonic cruise missile in the Pacific for the first time.

CNN reported analysts said this is a signal to China that Washington still competes in a weapons arena where many perceive Beijing to have an advantage.

An Air Force spokesperson confirmed a B-52 bomber flying out of Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam fired “a full prototype operational hypersonic missile”.

The test of the hypersonic weapon was conducted at the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, around 2,600 kilometres to the east of Guam.

The weapon consists of a rocket booster motor and the hypersonic glide vehicle, which carries a conventional warhead.

NZ – anti-corruption

A 10-member delegation from across the Pacific was in New Zealand last week aiming to strengthen capacities in ‘anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism’.

The knowledge exchange included representatives from Financial Intelligence Units, as well as senior level law enforcement officials involved in the investigation of money laundering and corruption, from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Solomon Islands.

It is supported by the UK Government via the United Nations Development Programme Pacific (UNDP) Office in Fiji’s Pacific Anti-Corruption Project.

UNDP said a primary focus of the knowledge exchange is to build stronger networks for effective asset recovery, related to the proceeds of corruption.

Northern Mariana Islands – tourism

The Northern Mariana Islands is aiming to tap into visitor arrivals from Australia.

The Marianas Visitors’ Authority recently joined the Brand USA Australia Roadshow to meet with travel trade representatives in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The US Department of Transportation controls the number of passenger flights from China to the entire United States.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the second largest source market of visitors to the CNMI, behind only South Korea, with multiple direct flights a week from five cities.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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