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Fiame warns of climate change and low-lying Pacific nations facing "dire" future

Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa
Source: AFP News via RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA —Samoa's Prime Minister says the world must take urgent action on climate change or low-lying Pacific nations will face a "dire" future.

AFP reports Fiame Naomi Mata'afa gave a stark assessment of the Pacific's prospects if there's not greater effort to tackle global warming at the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow in November.

Fiame says the participants must honor the goal set in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

She says carbon-emitting countries needed to prioritize saving the planet over economic growth.

"What they were saying was we weren't as well nuanced about how you have relationships with these big countries," she said.

"We've been independent since 1962, so we've been around the block. I think we understand quite well what our relationships are, just as Australia has its own relationships."

Fiame said the new government had no intention of changing its diplomatic recognition of Beijing and recognized the "One China" policy, although she remained open to trade with Taiwan.

She played down the impact of cancelling a Beijing-bankrolled port project agreed to by her predecessor, saying it was only at the feasibility stage when canned and would have no bearing on Samoa's "mature" relationship with China.

Quizzed on rivalries between China and the United States in the region, Fiame said she was comfortable dealing with both superpowers to pursue Samoa's best interests.

The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, will take place from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in the Scottish city of Glasgow, UK.

Read original at France24