6 Oct 2020

Australia acknowledges New Caledonia referendum outcome

3:47 pm on 6 October 2020

The Australian foreign ministry has reacted to New Caledonia's independence referendum, saying it recognised the choice made by New Caledonians to remain a part of France.

New Caledonia will hold independence referendum on 4 October

New Caledonia will hold independence referendum on 4 October Photo: FB The Loyalists

In a statement, the ministry said Australia valued its close relationship with France as a like-minded partner in the Indo-Pacific region and welcomed France's ongoing commitment to the Pacific.

Marking 80 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and New Caledonia, Australia said it was looking forward to continuing to build a deeper and stronger partnership.

During a visit to Sydney two years ago, the French president outlined an axis from Paris to Canberra, which was needed in the face of China whose hegemony risked reducing liberties and opportunities.

Macron said such an axis allowed France and its allies to take part in an equilibrium and ensure the freedom of navigation across the seas, freedom of travel in the air and the indispensable balances in this part of the world.

New Caledonia referendum flags

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

Opponents of independence said in the campaign leading up to the referendum that China's influence would grow should ties with France be loosened.

China is New Caledonia's biggest export market.

The French president Emmanuel Macron has previously spoken of a balance against Chinese influence that he claimed should be attained in the Pacific.

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