Written by Florence Syme-Buchanan
Democratic Party Opposition leader Tina Browne says she will stand by the statement issued by the Republic of China ministry of Foreign Affairs that countries, including the Cook Islands agree to “…oppose any attempt at stigmatization, politicizing or labeling the virus, support the leading role of the World Health Organization in promoting global cooperation against COVID-19, and strive for an early victory in the fight against the disease.”
“But at the same time, I don’t believe that in joining that agreement, necessarily means we support the one-China principle. That China wants partnerships with Pacific Island countries elevated to a new height post Covid-19 by “exploring new ways and tapping new potentials of cooperation to bring about greater progress in China-Pacific Island countries relations” should be approached and handled with utmost caution,” says Browne.
“We need to protect what few resources we have, our ocean fisheries, our seabed minerals to absolutely benefit our own people, not some other country with its own vast and diverse resources.”
Pictured: Purse in Protest lead by the Aronga Mana in Rarotonga and the late Dame Margaret Karika Ariki (Photo curtesy of Cook Islands News)
[Photo Credit: Cook Islands News]
Browne who was not part of the video-link meeting between China and 10 Pacific Island countries including the Cook Islands says the Cook Islands should support a thorough investigation into how, where and why Covid-19 originated.
“I don’t believe that the time to be talking about and possible elevation of relations with China is now when we are fighting to keep our paradise free of Covid-19 and the rest of the globe is battling the virus and suffering its effects on populations the world over.”
“I also don’t want to think that China has chosen this time to hold talks with Pacific Island countries when we are all very vulnerable and our economies are in recession. But it would appear that China is attempting an ill-timed public relations exercise and trying to drum up support from Pacific Island countries in readiness for its future plans in the region.”