Foreign policy and defense
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.
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
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.