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Taiwan, Tuvalu to discuss climate change responses: MOFA

2019/10/17 21:37:12

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Taiwan will engage in talks with Tuvalu on how to combat climate change, Taiwan's foreign ministry said Thursday, following a recent appeal by the Pacific ally for help to deal with rising sea levels.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a press briefing that Taiwan has been working closely with Tuvalu for years on several matters, including climate change, and will continue to do so by discussing concrete cooperation on that issue.

The MOFA statement came after Tuvalu's new Prime Minister Kausea Natano issued a call for global partners to help his country with a land reclamation plan to cope with rising sea levels.

In a recent interview with Kyodo News of Japan, Natano said Tuvalu is at serious risk of losing its land due to rapidly rising sea levels and is planning a land reclamation project in response to the problem.

Natano said he hoped other countries around the world would offer assistance to make the plan possible.

On Thursday, when Ou was asked whether Taiwan would assist Tuvalu, one of its diplomatic allies, with the land reclamation project, she did not directly confirm or deny such a plan.

Natano was elected as Tuvalu's prime minister last month, succeeding Enele Sopoaga, who had led the Pacific island nation for six years.

Amid speculations about whether Tuvalu would follow the Solomon Islands and Kiribati and switch diplomatic recognition to China, Natano said last month that his government would continue to work closely with Taiwan.

He also attended a ceremony in his country on Oct. 4 to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which was hosted by the Taiwan embassy there.

According Taiwan media reports, Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) is scheduled to visit Tuvalu later this month to discuss future cooperation projects.

(By Elaine Hou and Joseph Yeh)
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