ADELAIDE -It is hard not to become despondent when you see Pacific Islands nations left out of Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework – a 13 nation initiative designed to curb China’s influence in the region.
It seems the United States, and the West in general, have not learned from history.
Were open warfare to eventuate between China and Western powers, it is certain the Pacific Islands would become a major arena for combat.
Surely this is why China is angling to secure its own Solomons-style regional cooperation agreement covering virtually all Pacific Islands nations.
President Xi has clearly understood the implications of what open conflict might entail and is taking active steps to strategically position China to influence events across the region.
If Australia is serious about embracing and cultivating its 'Pacific family' then it must press for the inclusion of the Pacific Islands within the constellation of South-East Asian nations which are allies of the ‘Western bloc’ in our part of the world.
The contributions of countries like Papua New Guinea and Fiji are likely to be modest but, given their strategic importance and the inroads already made by China, they ought to have a seat at the table with the 'great and the good'.
Let us hope that Penny Wong has enough influence to convince our 'great and powerful friend', the USA, that would be an important move.