Pacific 

UN chief praises Japanese climate resilience, as Typhoon Hagibis cleanup begins

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has described the typhoon as one of the highest impact storms to hit Japan in many years, with hurricane-force winds, record-breaking rainfall, devastating storm surges, and coastal and inland flooding. Hagibis made landfall on Saturday, south of the capital Tokyo, before moving north. The typhoon has brought widespread devastation and disruption to densely populated cities, and infrastructure, and has led to the deaths of at least 25 people, with 15 declared missing. The casualties are believed to result mainly from landslides, or from being swept…

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Pacific 

UN commits to help Pacific island agriculture adapt and survive climate crisis

The commitment came at a joint meeting of Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, as part of the Pacific Week of Agriculture being held in Samoa, convened jointly by FAO and the Pacific Community (SPC).  Many Pacific island countries, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world, are disproportionately threatened by climate change and the impacts of severe weather events, says FAO, a point driven home during last week’s landmark summit on SIDS and the unique challenges they face, at UN Headquarters in New York.  Coupled with the vulnerability to rising…

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Pacific 

Millions of Afghans have ‘voted not just for a president, but also for democracy’, UN Assembly told

Congratulating his fellow Afghans for exercising their right to vote, even some who had had their fingers cut off by the Taliban in previous polls,” Mr. Mohib wholeheartedly thanked the “brave and professional Afghan National Defense and Security Forces for protecting that right.” Indeed some 70,000 soldiers protected the citizenry and “because of their professionalism, most of the attacks – and all attacks that were intended to inflict mass casualties on civilians – were averted.” “The next step in the journey to peace will be taken by Afghans, just as…

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Pacific 

DPRK reports ‘little progress’ since historic June 2018 summit with US

Kim Song, head of the country’s delegation, observed that more than a year has passed since DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump issued a joint statement following a historic summit in Singapore in June 2018. It included security guarantees from Washington while the DPRK, also referred to as North Korea, committed to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. “However, the relations between the DPRK and the US have made little progress so far and the situation of the Korean peninsula has not come out of the…

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Pacific 

‘Are we ready for the age of disruption?’, Thailand’s Foreign Minister asks UN Assembly

that it is the duty of those representing their countries to preserve and protect the livelihood of the “generation of the future”, Mr. Pramudwinai said that the world is witnessing “a sea change”, with many challenges and opportunities. The irony, continued the Foreign Minister, is that in a world where connectivity and interconnection are the norm, reaching out is considered a weakness, rather than strength. Nevertheless, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived, he said, “irrespective of our preparedness, bringing with it an avalanche of technological advancements that will have far…

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Pacific 

Timor-Leste Foreign Minister highlights value of UN in resolving conflicts

The UN helped guide the south-east Asian country to independence in May 2002 after years of occupation by Indonesia following the departure of colonial ruler Portugal in 1975.  “We have a historical relationship with the UN. The UN has a permanent and very special place in our hearts,” Mr. Babo Soares stated.  “Timor-Leste continues to be an example of the best the UN has to offer to resolve conflicts and maintain peace and the legal international order when its Member States join efforts.”  The Foreign Minister outlined some of the achievements of the “young…

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Pacific 

Guterres welcomes conduct of Afghan elections, commends ‘all who braved security concerns to uphold their right to vote’

All key actors in Afghanistan must “uphold their responsibility to support a peaceful, credible, transparent and inclusive electoral process”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement on Friday, the day before presidential elections are due to be held in the country, adding that “there is no place for violence, intimidation or fraud”.

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Pacific 

Myanmar willing to repatriate ‘verified returnees’ from Bangladesh

Some 900,000 mainly Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have sought shelter in the Cox’s Bazar region in south-eastern Bangladesh following military operations two years ago. Kyaw Tint Swe, Myanmar’s Union Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor, said repatriations would be carried out in line with a November 2017 agreement with Bangladesh. “Our priority now is to expedite repatriation and to create a more conducive environment for verified returnees,” he said, highlighting cooperation with Bangladesh, the UN and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), among others. Qualified returnees…

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Pacific 

Despite grappling with Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh is ‘development miracle’

“Bangladesh recorded the highest economic growth among a list of 26 countries in the last 10 years”, said Sheikh Hasina, noting a 188 per cent expansion in its gross domestic product (GDP), which “has grown from $102 billion in 2009 to $302 billion this year”. Citing poverty and inequality as two major obstacles to development, she pointed out that “poverty eradication, sustainable growth, protection of the environment and human-resources development are some of the key features of our development strategy”. “Bangladesh has achieved one of the fastest poverty reduction rates…

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Pacific 

At UN Assembly, China says ‘it will not ever be cowered by threats’

Wang Yi told the Assembly’s annual general debate that China is committed to resolve trade frictions and differences “in a calm, rational and cooperative manner”, as well as “utmost patience and goodwill.” However, on Tuesday at the general debate, United States President Donald Trump told the UN that he would not accept a “bad trade deal” with China nor hoped a beneficial deal. In his response, Mr. Wang stressed that “should the other side act in bad faith…we will have to make necessary responses to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,…

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