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Australia boosts funding to East Timor police

Reuters - January 29, 2024

Sydney – Australia said it will spend $23 million to support policing in East Timor, boosting disaster response and technology capabilities in the small Southeast Asian neighbor that recently upgraded ties with China.

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy arrived in East Timor on Monday and met with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

"Australia is committed to working with Timor-Leste to deliver skilled and professional policing services that contribute to a stable and secure Timor-Leste," Conroy said in a statement.

Australia will provide the $23 million to continue a policing partnership between the two nations that began 20 years earlier, he added.

East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta said in September a strategic partnership signed by Gusmao with China would boost Chinese investment and infrastructure, but did not extend to military cooperation, and Australia remained its top security partner.

Australia is concerned at China's efforts to increase security and policing ties in the Pacific region, after Beijing struck a security pact with Solomon Islands.

East Timor is a developing nation around 700 kilometers northwest of Australia.

China's ambassador to Australia said this month Beijing has a strategy to help Pacific Island nations with policing, not defense, and its growing presence in the region should not alarm Australia.

Conroy will travel on Tuesday to Nauru, which switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing earlier this month.

Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/australia-boosts-funding-to-east-timor-police/7461233.htm