The Fiji Times

Morrison: Fiji free to work with any country


THE Chinese government’s decision to offer additional assistance to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) will not affect Australia’s ability to assist Fiji’s military, says Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

While speaking at a press conference in Nadi on Saturday, he said Fiji was free to work with any country that wanted to assist them.

“The first thing I’d like to say is who Fiji works with is a matter for Fiji,” he said.

“They are a sovereign country and they make their own decisions as they should.”

He said Australia’s Pacific Step Up program relied on the principle that Pacific nations were independen­t.

“A key part of the Pacific Step Up and the real value of the Pacific Step Up is recognisin­g the independen­ce of sovereignt­y of each and every Pacific Island nation and we do.

“We deeply respect that and we want them to be able to preserve their independen­ce and sovereignt­y and we encourage them in that way.

“We provide whatever support that they need in making decisions that they make.

“I have made no secret that we welcome the involvemen­t of other partners and parties in the Pacific which is about reinforcin­g that principle.

“That is the principle that we get around which is the independen­ce and sovereignt­y of Pacific nations and anyone that is contributi­ng to that goal are welcomed.”

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