"The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change, it threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity", said Fiji's defence minister during the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue.
Climate change poses the biggest security threat in the Asia-Pacific region, Fiji's defence minister has warned at a high-level security summit that has been dominated by geopolitical tensions.
The remark by Fiji's Minister for Defence Inia Seruiratu came in Singapore on Sunday during the last day of Asia's top security meeting, the Shangri-La Dialogue.
"In our blue Pacific continent, machine guns, fighter jets, grey ships and green battalions are not our primary security concern," said Seruiratu.
"The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change. It threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity".
The meeting has been dominated by debate over Russia's offensive in Ukraine and rising tensions between the United States and China over everything from Taiwan's sovereignty to naval bases in the Pacific.
A conciliatory tone
Low-lying Pacific island nations are some of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. Threats range from cyclones that are becoming more regular and powerful, to rising seas.
Ahead of last year's key climate talks in Glasgow, Pacific states warned they were bearing the brunt of global warming and urged wealthy, industrialised nations to do more.
China has been vying for influence in the region with other nations, including Australia and the United States.
Seruiratu struck a conciliatory tone towards Beijing, despite the recent failed attempt to push its security pact.
"China is a key development partner, and that is a known fact. And that is accepted as well in the region", he said.