The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the co-ordination of Tuvalu’s international relations. The country espouses an independent but generally pro-Western foreign policy. The main focus of the country’s foreign policy is the Pacific region, and it maintains close relations with Fiji, New Zealand and Australia and also has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Tuvalu became a member of United Nations in 2000 and has a permanent mission in New York. A major international priority for Tuvalu in the UN and other international fora has been promoting concern about global warming and possible sea level rise. Tuvalu advocates ratification and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The country is an active member of the Pacific Islands Forum and a member of the Asian Development Bank.
There are three foreign representations in Tuvalu. Whilst there is a French Consulate and an Australian Representative Office, Taiwan is the only country which maintains a resident embassy in the country. The embassy is located in the capital of Funafuti and since establishing diplomatic ties in 1979 has assisted in sectors including fishery, agriculture and education. In 2010 the Taiwanese embassy invited 15 Tuvaluans to participate in a Taiwan-based training programme to become regional fishing observers. The Taiwanese embassy is also committed to assisting Tuvalu in its efforts to combat rising sea levels and global warming. There is no U.S. embassy in Tuvalu, but U.S. diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Fiji are accredited to Tuvalu and visit there regularly.
Tuvalu has embassies, high commissions and consulates located in some 10 countries around the world, including Belgium, Taiwan, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. As a member of the United Nations, Tuvalu maintains a permanent mission in New York and works towards international economic development, friendly relations among nations and respect for rights and freedoms. To strengthen Tuvalu’s commitment to promoting unity among countries of the Pacific Islands Forum, the country maintains embassies in other member countries such as Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Embassies and other foreign missions provide information on consular matters such as passports, visas and travel.