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STORY: Simon Kofe told Reuters the superpower competition was a concern, distracting attention from climate change, the priority for Pacific islands endangered by rising sea levels.
"It is important that the Pacific handles these issues carefully," he said in an interview on Thursday. "The last thing we want is that countries in the Pacific are used against each other or used as pawns."
"We’re heading for a scenario where Tuvalu disappears in the next 50 to 100 years," he added.
Kofe grabbed global attention for his nation of 12,000 people last year when he addressed a global climate conference standing ankle deep in the sea to illustrate Tuvalu was "sinking".
Forty percent of the capital district is underwater at high tide, and the tiny country is forecast to be submerged by the end of the century.