Foreign policy and defense
Kiribati is a nation in Micronesia. Its capital city is Tarawa Atoll. The most important international issue for the Kiribati is the climate change that causes elevated sea levels. Kiribati’s atolls are just a few meters above sea level and the country is at risk of becoming uninhabitable within half a century. Together with other island nations, Kiribati acts to raise public opinion on the climate issue in the UN and in regional cooperation bodies such as the Pacific Islands Forum (Pacific Islands Forum).
The government is also working to make promises from other countries to receive climate refugees from Kiribati. In 2014, the President of Fiji announced that all Kiribati are welcome to settle in Fiji when the islands of Kiribati become impossible to live on.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Kiribati for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Kiribati has mainly good relations with the outside world, although the exchange is often limited due to the country’s small size and inaccessible location. Like many other small states in the South Sea, Kiribati is paying increasing attention to the big neighbors in East Asia.
China and Taiwan compete for the favor of the small Pacific nations. Kiribati first recognized China and in 1997 the Chinese were allowed to build a satellite station on the Tarawa Atoll. After a government change in 2003, Kiribati acknowledged instead Taiwan, which led to the breaking of diplomatic relations with China and the closure of the station. A new shift came in September 2019 when Kiribati broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan. One of the two Asian states with which Kiribati has diplomatic relations with usually provide extensive assistance to the country.
Kiribati has close ties to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Japan. The country receives a lot of aid from New Zealand. A Japanese space research institute has the right to lease land for rocket launches from Kiritimati atoll until 2020. In December 2016, newly elected President Maamau announced that he would resume discussion with Japan about damages for the devastation caused by Japan’s war in Kiribati during World War II. The claims for damages lay down during the representative period of Tong’s power in 2003–2016. Maamau’s proposal was that the compensation should be paid in the form of development aid to those parts of the earliest affected by the fighting.
Environmental and safety issues have sometimes caused problems in relations with both France and the United States. In 1995, Kiribati temporarily suspended its diplomatic relations with France, after the French decided to reopen their nuclear weapons tests at the Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia. In 1996, Kiribati protested against US plans to store toxic high-risk waste on an atoll near Kiribati, and later the Kiribati have been troubled by US rocket launches from an oil platform at the border of Kiribati’s economic zone.
Kiribati has no defense of its own, although the police who are to be present on all the islands carry out semi-military tasks if necessary. Defense assistance is provided by Australia and New Zealand. In 1999, Kiribati, along with Nauru and Tonga, joined the UN.