Fiji fears climate change, not conflict
Climate change is the most major threat posed to Fiji, as stressed by its defense minister, who asked that other nations help his country combat climate change rather than arming it for possible conflicts.
The biggest threat that Fiji faces is "devastating climate change" not conflict, Fijian Defense Minister Inia Seruiratu stressed on Sunday during a high-level security summit dominated by geopolitical tensions.
The Shangri-La Dialogue summit held over the weekend brought together defense ministers from around the world, and it mostly saw discussions about Taiwan and the Ukraine war.
Seruiratu, on the other hand, sought instead to focus attention on the threats facing his country from climate change, as the Pacific island nation is regularly hit by cyclones.
"Machine guns, fighter jets, ships... are not our primary security concern," he told hundreds of delegates at the event in Singapore. "The single greatest threat to our very existence is... human-induced, devastating climate change. It threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity."
He underlined how the country was affected by environmental disasters, such as high waves, rising sea levels, and strong winds. "we are being assaulted by this enemy from many angles."
The Defense Minister focused on how security had a much broader definition than that had been attributed to it in the past, using his argument t urge other countries to help Fiji in its efforts to combat climate change.
The danger posed to Fiji comes from its status as a low-lying Pacific island nation, with the lack of terrain exposing it to rising sea levels, tsunamis, and cyclones.
Ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow last year, Pacific states warned they were bearing the brunt of global warming, urging industrialized nations to do more to help them in their bids to safeguard themselves.
China, the United States, and Australia have been fighting for influence in the Pacific region, and Beijing has been making strides there, singing deals with several Pacific island nations.
Reports by The Financial Times citing officials say that China is to hold negotiations on potential security deals with Kiribati and possibly Vanuatu.
Seruiratu also struck a conciliatory tone towards Beijing, despite Suva recently rebuffing a bid by China to perpetuate a security pact just a few weeks ago.
"China is a key development partner, and that is a known fact. And that is accepted as well in the region," he said.