Australia has signed an agreement with Tuvalu allowing citizens of the low-lying Pacific island nation to take up residency in Australia, should rising sea levels force them to abandon their homes. About 11,000 residents of Tuvalu are among the world’s most vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis. In return for offering them residency, Australia will have effective veto power over Tuvalu’s security arrangements with any other country. Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong acknowledged the deal was aimed at countering China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific.
Penny Wong: “We recognize we live in a more contested region, and we have to work harder to be a partner of choice. We know that. And unlike the previous government, we have been doing the work, and we will do the work, to work with the Pacific Island Forum members to assure Australia’s presence as a member of the family and as a partner of choice.”