A remark by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been met with utter dismay from his Fiji counterpart Frank Bainimarama, who referred to it as insulting, adding that China would have offered more tolerant and open diplomacy following a tense Pacific summit, AFP reported on Saturday, August 17th.
Bainimarama accused Morrison of heavy-handed tactics after the Pacific Island Forum wrapped up in Tuvalu Thursday with pro-coal Canberra sharply at odds with island nations facing the existential threat of climate change.
The Fiji prime minister felt insulted by his Australian counterpart, and continued to refer to his tone and diplomacy as both utterly condescending and hardly viable for a productive relationship, the Guardian reported on Friday, August 16th.
According to island leaders, after 12 hours of heart-felt negotiations descended into tears, the summit communiqué fell well short of expectations with language watered down at the insistence of the Australian PM.
Although Morrison pledged Aus$500 million in aid to Pacific Island nations to invest in renewable energy and climate change resilience, the suggested amount has been met with rejection from Fiji and consequently labelled as insulting.
Moreover, the leaders of the other 17 nations in the Pacific Island Forum have called on Canberra to do more to cut emissions and curb Australia's lucrative coal industry.
The approach for solution has been met with different views from the Fijian leader, who added there was "no competition" in the region between Australia and China; however, he praised Beijing's approach to diplomacy.
Meanwhile, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has caused a stir after being caught on camera saying Pacific nations would weather climate change thanks to Australian aid and a program that allows islanders to work seasonally in Australia.
The group had hoped to issue a compelling global call to action from nations on the frontline of climate change ahead of UN talks in New York next month, according to AFP.