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Brits Minding Relations In Asia-Pacific

  • January 19th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

haig-2.jpgBritain’s Foreign Secretary, William Haig (picture) today (19.1.11) was touring some of the worst affected flood zones in Queensland as part of a visit to Australia in company with the Defence Minister, Liam Fox.

EVEN THE POMMIES!

Flooded-out residents now cleaning up in Brisbane expressed thanks, at a barbecue,  for contributions to a relief fund, starting with a donation from Queen Elizabeth.

“Even the pommies are looking after you!”, said Mr Haig.

“There seems to be a lot of mud here.”

floods-uk-07.jpgHe said a party of British professionals in flood recovery, with, regrettably, a lot of experience from disasters in Europe, would help out with the Australian effort – now extending to official inquiries into dams management, clearing of port facilities choked with debris and silt, and disposing of piles of toxic waste. New floods are menacing towns in the state of Victoria.

See also EUAustralia Online: “Madeira losses mount”, 23.2.10; “Rome floods”, 15.12.08; “Floods and drought …”, 24.7.07.

CLIMATE CHANGE, AFGHANISTAN AND CHINA

With questions over the links between Queensland’s gross rainfall this year and global warming, climate change was on the agenda for Ministerial meetings this week.

The visiting Ministers and their Australian counterparts, Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith, as well agreed on Tuesday in Canberra to a three-year time frame for the withdrawal of Australian and UK combat forces from Afghanistan — the Australians to go by the end of 2014, the British in the following year.

The agreement offers a firm understanding to the United States from two of its closest allies.

The Ministers were also discussing the expansion of China in the Asia-Pacific, as a lead power in the fastest-growing world economic region.

By coincidence, in Washington, President Barrack Obama was meeting the Chinese President and Paramount Leader, Hu Jintao, their talks expected to cover China’s policy on holding down the value of its currency, military expansion, climate and the environment, outside access to Chinese markets, and the friction  over US arms sales to Taiwan.

Reference

Rachel Pannett, AP, “China Looms Over Australia-U.K. Talks”, Wall Street Journal, NY, 18.1.11. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703396604576087362373590584.html?mod=googlenews_wsj, (19.1.11).

Ross Peake, “Tories to outline climate plan in Sydney”, Canberra Times, Canberra, 19.1.11. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/tories-to-outline-climate-plan-in-sydney/2051165.aspx, (19.1.11).

Pictures

William Haig wikipedia; UK floods 2007

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