Anote Tong

Infobox President
name = Anote Tong

order = President of Kiribati
term_start = 10 July 2003
term_end =
vicepresident =
predecessor = Tion Otang
successor =
birth_date = 1952
birth_place =
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Meme Tong
constituency =
party = BTK

Anote Tong (in Chinese, 湯安諾; pinyin: Tāng Ānnuò — his family name is of Chinese origin but it is now considered as Gilbertese by Kiribati people) (born 1952) is the president of Kiribati. He won the election in July 2003 with a slim plurality of votes cast (47.4%) against his brother, Dr. Harry Tong (43.5%) and the private lawyer Banuera Berina (9.1%). [cite web| url= |title=Country profile: Kiribati |accessdate=2007-01-06] The elections were contested by the opposition, due to allegations of electoral fraud but the High Court of Tarawa had confirmed that there was no fraud. He was easily re-elected on October 17, 2007, for a second term (64%). The son of an Chinese migrant who settled in the Gilberts after World War II and of a Gilbertese woman, [ [ Tiny Pacific islands play China using the Taiwan card] ] he went to St Bede's College for his secondary school education, graduated from Canterbury University with a degree in Science, and then gained a Masters in Economics degree from the London School of Economics. [ [ "World Environment Day guests confirmed"] , New Zealand government press release, March 5, 2008; contains a brief biography of President Tong]

During the campaign, he promised to review the lease of a spy and satellite tracking base used by the People's Republic of China and "to take appropriate actions at the right time." On November 7, he established relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan, which led the People's Republic of China to sever relations and vacate its satellite base nearly a month later.

Tong was overwhelmingly re-elected to his seat in parliament in the August 2007 parliamentary election. [ [ "Kiribati president returned at general election, likely will form new government"] , Associated Press ("International Herald Tribune"), August 23, 2007.] On October 17, 2007, he was re-elected as president by a large majority. The opposition boycotted the election due to the exclusion of two opposition candidates, including Tong's brother Harry. [ [ "Tong re-elected Kiribati president"] , ABC Radio Australia, October 18, 2007.]

He is married to a Kiribati woman named Meme and has seven children.

peaking up on climate change

President Tong has attracted international attention by warning that his country may become uninhabitable by the 2050s due to rising sea levels and salination provoked by climate change. Tong has stated on several occasions that Kiribati may cease to exist altogether, and that its entire population of 94,000 may need to be resettled as climate refugees. In June 2008, he stated that Kiribati may already have reached "the point of no return"; he added: "To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that." [ [ "Leader of disappearing island nation says climate change an issue of survival, not economics"] , "International Herald Tribune", June 5, 2008] [ [ "Kiribati leader warns the world that it may already be too late"] , TV3, June 5, 2008] [ [ "Kiribati's President: 'Our Lives Are At Stake': For the Islands of Kiribati, Global Warming Poses Immediate Dangers"] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 2, 2007] [ [ "Paradise lost: climate change forces South Sea islanders to seek sanctuary abroad"] , "The Independent", June 6, 2008] [ [ "Tiny atoll in Pacific cries out for help"] , "The Times of India", June 6, 2008]


External links

* [ ABC News: President of Kiribati: 'Our Very Lives Are At Stake']
* [ Address to the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly] , September 25, 2008

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