‘Australia-Fiji relationship strong, improving’

Fijian soldiers and their Australian counterparts arrive on Mosquito Island at Draunibota Bay in Lami yesterday. Picture: VISHAAL KUMAR

AUSTRALIA’S relationship with Fiji is fundamentally strong and is improving, says Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes.

He made the comment while speaking during a joint exercise held by the crew from HMAS Adelaide, HMAS Melbourne and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) on Mosquito Island in Lami yesterday.

Mr Feakes said in terms of Australia’s support towards Fiji, there was a wider range of relationship between the two countries which was a strong one.

“You have seen over the past few days, but this covers the whole co-operation of this relationship,” Mr Feakes said.

“So the defence aspect is one component which is very important, but this is only one aspect. We also have a very strong economic and trade relationship and political relationship.”

He added Fiji’s Prime Minister and his Australian counterpart meet frequently and this was underpinned by robust people to people relationship.

“There are number of Fijians living in Australia and making enormous contributions towards the Australian life in the professional services, in businesses and in medicines. There are number of Australians living here as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Feakes played down any significant concerns regarding the presence of a Chinese surveillance ship berthed at the Port of Suva.

He said the joint exercise had nothing to do with China.
“As far as we are concerned on the ground, this is a bilateral exercise between Australia and Fiji. And as you may be aware the boat is routinely in Suva, and for us we don’t see anything surprising about the fact the boat is here,” he said.

More Stories