Foreign affairs & defence Feed

Gift Pacific patrol boats have major defects

Austal’s vessels have a chequered history, including bad cracking and delays due to the use of poor quality aluminium

Austal-delivers-15t-guardian-class-patrol-boat

MAX OPRAY
| Schwartz Media

MELBOURNE - Major design flaws have been identified among a fleet of Australian patrol boats given to Pacific nations.

The flaws include cracks in the exhaust that allow carbon monoxide to enter a compartment, cracking in the coupling linking the engine and gearbox, and poor ventilation in sick bays.

Continue reading "Gift Pacific patrol boats have major defects" »


Capped partner visas: Another Dutton rort

It's likely the government, particularly under Peter Dutton, acted illegally in limiting the number of partner visa places to an extraordinary degree

Adelaide_airport_arrived_stamp

ABUL RIVZI
| Pearls & Irritations

CANBERRA - In 2018, I wrote about one of opposition leader Peter Dutton’s lesser known scandals – his action to egregiously limit the number of partner visas.

In 1989 and in 1996-97, parliament voted to ensure partner visa applications (more specifically spouse visa applications) were managed on a demand driven basis.

Continue reading "Capped partner visas: Another Dutton rort" »


Pacific Forum to keep US & China on the outer

The ABC has been told that dialogue partners meetings will not be held during the Forum, effectively locking out politicians and officials from countries outside the region

Pacific-Islands-Forum

STEPHEN DZIEDZIC
ABC News | Edited extracts

Link here for Stephen Dziedcic’s complete article

CANBERRA - The Pacific's peak diplomatic body looks set to exclude the United States, China and several other major countries from a crucial leaders meeting in Fiji next month.

The move has been analysed as helping to shelter the Pacific Islands from intensifying geostrategic competition in the region.

Continue reading "Pacific Forum to keep US & China on the outer" »


China accuses US of garrisoning the Pacific

General Austin says the US is prepared to step up to be a leader and a guarantor of a free and open Indo-Pacific. "Big powers carry big responsibilities," he says

CNN - US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin  Shangri-La Dialogue summit  Singapore  June 11 (CNN)
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin addresses the Shangri-La Dialogue summit in  Singapore on Saturday  (CNN)

BRAD LENDON & OREN LIEBERMANN
| CNN | Edited extracts

SINGAPORE – On Saturday, United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin called out China and vowed the US would stand by partners after a series of coercive, aggressive and dangerous actions that he said threatened stability in Asia.

"Indo-Pacific countries shouldn't face political intimidation, economic coercion or harassment by maritime militias," Austin said in a keynote speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's premier defence conference.

Continue reading "China accuses US of garrisoning the Pacific" »


Solomons: a better understanding is needed

Most Pacific Island nations, including Papua New Guinea and Fiji, have not voiced opposition to the China-Solomons agreement and understand its context

Nanau - China
National flags of Solomon Islands and China flutter in Tiananmen Square, Beijing (Reuters)

GORDON NANAU
| East Asia Forum

SUVA - A draft security agreement between Solomon Islands and China was leaked on social media on 24 March 2022, sparking anxious reactions locally and internationally.

On 19 April, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the agreement had been signed, and this was confirmed by Solomon Islands foreign affairs minister Jeremiah Manele.

Continue reading "Solomons: a better understanding is needed" »


Pacific labour mobility: staggering upward

While the final few years of Coalition rule saw rapid growth in Pacific labour mobility, they were also years in which policy coherence began to suffer, if not fall apart

A PALM worker (World Bank)
The Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme has staggered forward but now promises the prospect of both temporary and permanent migration to Australia

 

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited

CANBERRA - The Coalition government led by John Howard was disastrous for Pacific labour mobility.

By contrast, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government was very good for it, though at the end the limits and contradictions of its approach were apparent.

Continue reading "Pacific labour mobility: staggering upward" »


Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI

From the outset ASPI was a highly politicised right wing think tank. It’s now reached its use-by date & should put down the megaphone

Aspi graphic

BRUCE HAIGH
| Pearls & Irritations

ORANGE, NSW - The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ASPI, was conceived as a body to provide the government with the advice it wanted to hear.

It was commissioned by prime minister John Howard in August 2001 to undertake ‘policy-relevant research and analysis to better inform government decisions and public understanding of strategic and defence issues'.

Continue reading "Time is up for right wing cheerleader ASPI" »


PNG & the Pacific score a minister for action

'I think the key thing is to build a relationship based on mutual respect. It can't be a transactional relationship where our interest waxes and wanes. A deeply respectful relationship is key'

Albo conroy
Pat Conroy MP, wife Keara and their children and prime minister Anthony Albanese after the new Australian ministry was sworn in last month 

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Richard Marles is now Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister.

When I met him about 10 years ago, he was the Labor government’s parliamentary secretary for Pacific Islands affairs and I was unimpressed.

Continue reading "PNG & the Pacific score a minister for action" »


The Coalition & aid: a story of two halves

Whereas Bishop seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic about aid, Payne hardly ever spoke about it, and it was impossible to work out what she thought about the subject

Bishop-and-Payne (DFAT)
Julie Bishop and Senator Marise Payne (DFAT)

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA – When it comes to Australian aid, the Coalition government’s just ended nine-year reign can be divided into two periods.

From September 2013, when it came to power; to August 2018, when Julie Bishop resigned as foreign minister after the Liberal Party turned against prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and replaced him with Scott Morrison.

Continue reading "The Coalition & aid: a story of two halves" »


China gatekeepers threaten Pacific media

Following the Chinese foreign minister's media-unfriendly 10-day tour, frustrated Pacific journalists hope that in future "there will be a more concerted effort to defend media freedom against creeping authoritarianism"

Pacific cartoon

DAVID ROBIE
| Pacific Media Watch | Edited

AUCKLAND - Timor-Leste, the youngest independent nation has the most fledgling media in the Asia-Pacific region.

But the country’s president has just offered a big lesson to its Pacific Island neighbours in tackling Chinese media gatekeepers and the creeping authoritarianism that is threatening journalism in the region.

Continue reading "China gatekeepers threaten Pacific media" »


Bird with a flash of yellow: The PNGDF readies

What they discussed has to remain as white flecks of foam, cast up by the sea’s rolling waves, particles that disappear as soon as perceived

Nara Image 1
Papua New Guinea’s national flag – the bird with a brilliant flash of yellow

ALEXANDER NARA

MURRAY BARRACKS - It was around 5pm when I spotted a bird with a brilliant flash of yellow dancing upon a nearby branch.

Quite a contrast, I thought, as I dragged my bony frame up Signal Hill at Murray Barracks.

Continue reading "Bird with a flash of yellow: The PNGDF readies" »


Five new ideas for Australia & the Pacific

There are ways in which the tone and tenor of Australia’s relationships with the Pacific can be shifted, expanded and improved

Cain - aid plane solomons
Australian High Commission personnel in the Solomons await the arrival of a shipment of aid material (DFAT)

TESS NEWTON CAIN

BRISBANE - The significance of the Pacific Islands region to the new Albanese government was clear from the start.

Between being sworn in as foreign minister and getting on a plane to Tokyo, Senator Penny Wong recorded a video message for the Pacific signalling a step change and promising to visit ‘soon’.

Continue reading "Five new ideas for Australia & the Pacific" »


Kramer on China, PNG & backdoor diplomacy

Good relationships, earned trust and gradualism can get you a long way in Papua New Guinea. But so can bribing the right people

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Bryan Kramer - Corrupt PNG politicians and other conmen are experts at building relationships, and Australia seems not to recognise this

PHILIP FITZPATRICK & PAUL OATES

On Monday the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas interviewed prominent PNG politician and immigration minister Bryan Kramer for Radio National Breakfast. A number of PNG Attitude contributors heard the exchange and told me they were impressed by it, so I asked two of them to share their thoughts - KJ

Continue reading "Kramer on China, PNG & backdoor diplomacy" »


A muted battle for the Pacific is enjoined

After a decade of neglect, and in some cases mockery, alliance repair in the Pacific Islands will not be achieved by policy shift alone

China - Section of China's draft action plan for the Pacific
A section of China's leaked draft action plan for the Pacific Islands

PAUL OATES

CLEVELAND QLD – We in the south-western Pacific find ourselves in a volatile regional situation that we have not seen since 1942 and where we are unsure of precisely, or even generally, of what might happen.

Perhaps our first problem is that we do not fully understand the intentions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the effective government of China.

Continue reading "A muted battle for the Pacific is enjoined" »


China’s new Pacific plan is a game-changer

You only have to look at a map to deduce the basic logic of what China is up to. This is prime real estate

Albo
Anthony Albanese will step up discussions with Pacific Island nations as Australia tries strengthen its relationships amid China's plan to sign trade and cooperation deals with 10 countries (Yuichi Yamazaki, Getty Images)

DAVID RISING & NICK PERRY
| The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - When China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands in April it raised concerns from the USA, Australia and other allies that Beijing may be seeking a military outpost in the South Pacific, an area of traditional American naval dominance.

But China upped the ante further this week, reaching out to the Solomon Islands and nine other island nations with a sweeping security proposal that, even if only partially realised, could give it a presence in the Pacific much nearer Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and on the doorstep of the strategic American territory of Guam.

Continue reading "China’s new Pacific plan is a game-changer" »


Is the USA prepping AsiaPacific for war?

Washington is acting like Taiwan is already a fully-fledged ally and is willing to risk a regional war that can easily spin out of control

Ausn

ALEX LO
| South China Morning Post

HONG KONG - For Washington, containing China is more important than risking the lives of millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region.

Such a war will, after all, be fought on the other side of the world, so far as ordinary Americans – already sold on the evil of communist China and the benevolence of their own country – are concerned.

Continue reading "Is the USA prepping AsiaPacific for war?" »


China’s long head start in the Pacific

Australia needs a Catch-Up not a Step-Up in its relationship with the Pacific Islands, and this week started on the long diplomatic journey

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (Tiziana Fabi  Reuters)
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (Tiziana Fabi, Reuters)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – China is now seeking to build upon its existing diplomatic relations with 10 Pacific Islands countries with what it terms ‘a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development’.

It has been working towards this wider alliance since November 2014, when President Xi Jinping met in Fiji with the Pacific Islands states with which it had diplomatic relations.

The concept was more clearly defined in November 2018 when, during the APEC summit in Port Moresby, Xi held a group meeting with Pacific Islands leaders which further elevated the strategic relationship.

Continue reading "China’s long head start in the Pacific" »


Solomons deal puts Australia in crosshairs

Australia must be agile in building a foreign policy that can balance its relations with both the United States and China

Albanese Biden et al
Anthony Albanese, Joe Biden, Narendra Modi and Fumio Kashida - geniality marked the recent Four Eyes summit in Tokyo but China's ambitions for the Pacific Islands could mark the onset of a new Cold War

MUHAMMAD ABDUL BASIT
| Independent Australia

SURFERS PARADISE - The recent China-Solomon Islands pact has sent waves of discomfort through the US and its allies, particularly Australia. Security concerns have been felt in Canberra to Washington.

As China allegedly seeks to develop a military base in the Solomon Islands and increases its sphere of influence, the power dimensions in the region may change.

That makes the – yet unrevealed – agreement a matter of curiosity and serious concern for Australia and its allies.

Continue reading "Solomons deal puts Australia in crosshairs" »


Wong & Wang hit Pacific as US bungles bloc

Biden’s failure to include a Pacific Islands nation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework may prove to be a shocking oversight

A
Foreign ministers Penny Wong and Wang Yi -  as Biden makes a strategic blunder, the contest for influence in the Pacific Islands heats up

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Chinese and Australian foreign ministers are arriving in the Pacific Islands today on separate missions to reinforce their influence in the region.

And, as US president Joe Biden announced the creation of an Asia-Pacific economic bloc to counter China’s dominance, China proposed to 10 Pacific Island countries that they enter into a cooperation agreement covering policing, security and data communications.

Continue reading "Wong & Wang hit Pacific as US bungles bloc" »


Biden must invite PNG into economic bloc

A top chrisCHRIS OVERLAND

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.

Continue reading "Biden must invite PNG into economic bloc" »


Penny Wong's new deal for the Pacific

Wong
Australia's foreign minister Penny Wong - "We'll do more, we'll do it better, we'll listen"

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Asia Pacific Report

AUCKLAND - Australia’s new foreign minister, Penny Wong, says the Labor government “will be a generous, respectful and reliable member of the Pacific family”.

In a message to the region, Wong set the tone for Australia’s renewed priorities for its island neighbours.

Continue reading "Penny Wong's new deal for the Pacific" »


New Asia-Pacific economic bloc excludes PNG

Bloc map korea
US president Joe Biden on Monday in front of a giant map of the Korean peninsula. If the goal is to stifle China, why overlook the Pacific Islands?

KEITH JACKSON

The omission of PNG and the Pacific Islands from the alliance is both a misguided decision and a missed opportunity

NOOSA – It’s a bold if obvious idea that crept onto the agenda while we in Australia were having a general election.

It’s also a flawed idea but, given its general air of contempt towards the Pacific Islands, I’m not surprised the Morrison government let it slide.

Continue reading "New Asia-Pacific economic bloc excludes PNG" »


Can Albanese end the great regression?

Albanese
Anthony Albanese - "A critical component of progress is engaging with people you don't agree with - everything else is the status quo"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The demise of Australia’s Morrison government hopefully spells the end of nine long years of inertia, incompetence and corruption.

The incoming Albanese government inherits a sea of troubles: unprecedented public cynicism about politics; a degraded Federal public service; an economy about to be smitten by inflation; mountainous debt and fragile asset bubbles; an incredibly destructive European war; and a Chinese economy teetering on the edge of disaster.

This is a grim outlook indeed.

Continue reading "Can Albanese end the great regression?" »


China v the West in great PNG electricity war

ElecRYAN MURDOCK
| Harvard International Review | Extracts

Compared with China, the West’s contributions to electrification are less tangible and far less financially robust

CAMBRIDGE MA USA - Amidst global discussion of the increasingly competitive dynamic emerging between China and the United States, Papua New Guinea represents a potential battlefield.

As the country works to establish a functional electricity network, Chinese and Western-allied involvement in the process has presented a point of competition.

Continue reading "China v the West in great PNG electricity war" »


Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors

Frank Jordan
Frank Jordan - "To invite New Zealanders to work in Australia but exclude Papua New Guineans shows a deep lack of respect"

FRANK JORDAN
| Reason Australia Party

Reason supports giving Papua New Guinea citizens the same rights to live and work in Australia as New Zealand citizens and offering them legislative protections for fair and safe working conditions

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is a nation of nine million people just 10 kilometres north of Australia.

Most Australians will have met someone from New Zealand which has a population two thirds that of PNG. How many can say they have met someone from PNG.

Continue reading "Reason wants equal rights for PNG visitors" »


Sea border closed between Qld & PNG

Border
Coastline near Papua New Guinea - Indonesia border (Johnny Blades, RNZ)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Border crossing arrangements between Papua New Guinea and Queensland through the Torres Strait have been suspended.

PNG's police commissioner and National Pandemic Response controller, David Manning, has declared the new measure under the National Pandemic Act.

Continue reading "Sea border closed between Qld & PNG" »


China, Solomons & the Oz diplomatic omnishambles

Illustration - David Rowe
Illustration - David Rowe (AFR)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.”

An epigram usually attributed to Albert Einstein, although there’s no evidence he said it except that it is typical of the great man’s witticisms.

Last night Marise Payne met with Solomon Islands foreign minister Jeremiah Manele in Brisbane to discuss The Most Recent China Problem. Einstein would have understood.

Continue reading "China, Solomons & the Oz diplomatic omnishambles" »


Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up

dads army dionne gain
'Dad's Army' (Dionne Gain, Sydney Morning Herald)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In Australia the issue was characterised incorrectly by the media as an ‘agreement to allow Chinese armed forces to protect Solomons infrastructure, less than 2,000 kilometres off Australia’s east coast’.

This was a significant overstatement. Under most definitions, the role of police is hardly considered to be ‘armed forces protecting infrastructure’.

But, you know, journalisms.

Continue reading "Wisdom of Solomons? No, another stuff up" »


Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend

A nam bish
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015,  before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister

MARTYN NAMORONG

"You were once our coloniser. You created institutions. All on our behalf. And yours too, let's be honest" - Martyn Namorong

In 2015, under the auspices of PNG Attitude (and, of course, our generous readers), the young Martyn Namorong – one of the most perceptive critics Papua New Guinea has produced - made his first visit to Australia.

Continue reading "Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend" »


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

A Immigration at Jackson Airport -
Immigration at Jackson Airport - "long lines of miners queueing ready to extract resources from the ground"

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose' (the more things change, the more they stay the same) - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, 1808–1890, French novelist and editor

CAIRNS - Clearly very little has changed since Martyn Namorong’s first visit to Australia in 2015.

When Martyn penned this, Papua New Guinea’s population was around seven million. In the 10 years since, it has increased by two million - a phenomenal rate of growth.

Continue reading "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" »


Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship

A
Cartoon by Hudson

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - This week, Australian citizens observe what seem to be the final paroxysms of the Morrison government as its lamentable record in office and surprisingly poor campaigning leave it in a shambles.

Nothing symbolises this more than the fallout from a series of appalling blunders concerning Solomon Islands, which from my perspective looks suspiciously like a friendly flag operation gone wrong.

Continue reading "Australia's frail PNG-Pacific relationship" »


Pacific: ALP unveils as Morrison flails

_Pix - Morrison CO(R)ALBERNARD KEANE
| Crikey | Extracts

MELBOURNE - Capitalising on Scott Morrison’s persistent problems over his Solomon Islands debacle, Labor maintained the unusual foreign policy theme of the campaign so far by unveiling its Asia-Pacific strategy this morning, with Penny Wong standing in for Anthony Albanese.

A half billion dollars in extra aid over four years, an expanded Pacific labour scheme under which participants can bring family members, and a new class of permanent migration visa — these form the core of the policy, along with an unspecified ‘Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership’.

Continue reading "Pacific: ALP unveils as Morrison flails" »


Sogavare: Talks a success; US to 'do better'

Sogavare  Kurt Campbell and members of US delegation.
Manasseh Sogavare, Kurt Campbell and Lieutenant General Stephen Sklenka, deputy commander of the US Indo-Pacific command

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Following what he described as a friendly and productive meeting on Friday, Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said his country and the US were committed to strengthen their relations by working together on issues of mutual concern.

Sogavare said he had warmly welcomed Kurt Campbell, the United States coordinator for Indo–Pacific affairs, and his delegation and welcomed the US decision to re-establish an embassy in Honiara.

Continue reading "Sogavare: Talks a success; US to 'do better'" »


PNG research: Oz lacks respect; China praised

Ab
When grass roots Papua New Guineans were asked about Australia and China, the results were not too flash for PNG's former colonial master

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - On the back of Australia's disastrous drubbing by China in the Solomon Islands, new research from Papua New Guinea has delivered more bad news for the Morrison government.

In 2021, a coalition of Papua New Guinean researchers embarked on an unprecedented endeavour.

Continue reading "PNG research: Oz lacks respect; China praised" »


Did Xi shoot the sheriff?

A Bush hails ‘sheriff Australia' (BBC News)
Bush hails ‘sheriff Australia' (BBC News). Every day looking more like the Sheriff of Nothingham

DAN McGARRY
| The Village Explainer
| Courtesy Asia Pacific Report

“If we can’t respect the equal standing of nations, we can’t protect their integrity” – Dan McGarry

VILA - If the coming election goes to Australia’s Labor Party, Senator Penny Wong is very likely to become foreign minister.

So when she speaks, people across the region prick up their ears.

Continue reading "Did Xi shoot the sheriff?" »


Oz omnishambles over China & Solomons

A
Loudmouth tearaway Marise Payne has gone missing leaving commentary on the Solomons to shy, demure Penny Wong

BERNARD KEANE
| Crikey

MELBOURNE - The debacle of the now-formalised agreement between China and the government of the Solomon Islands has forced Morrison onto the defensive.

And this on what was supposed by the press gallery ahead of the campaign to be a source of unique and irrepressible strength: his tough-guy act on China.

Continue reading "Oz omnishambles over China & Solomons" »


Australia is alone in the south-west Pacific

A forum
Cartoon - Fiona Katauskas

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - Despite visits past and planned to Honiara by Australian ministers and United States officials, Solomon Islands went ahead to sign a security deal with China.

Details remain sketchy, but a leaked draft says it will allow Chinese security forces to assist Solomons security forces when needed, including protecting Chinese businesses.

Continue reading "Australia is alone in the south-west Pacific" »


Contesting views emerge in Solomons duel

A Kurt Campbell (AFP)
Kurt Campbell (AFP). China says the US is pushing Australia aside to intervene more directly in the Pacific Islands region

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It seems Kurt Campbell, the United States Indo-Pacific coordinator, will still visit the Solomon Islands this week even after the country declared it had already entered into a security pact with China.

A last ditch effort by Australia failed to change the mind of the Solomons leadership as the Morrison government was strongly criticised for its ineffectual Pacific Islands policies that it is claimed, not altogether credibly, to have enabled China to gain a military foothold in the Solomons, just 2,000 km from mainland Australia.

Continue reading "Contesting views emerge in Solomons duel" »


We’re really pawns in The Great Game

APAUL OATES

Hidden Hand: Exposing how the Chinese Communist Party is reshaping the world by Clive Hamilton & Mareike Ohlberg, Paperback, Hardie Grant Books, 2020, 448 pages. Kindle $8.42, Paperback $24.25. Available here from Amazon in Australia

CLEVELAND QLD - Chek Ling (Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht) raises an extremely relevant issue.

It’s an issue that Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands need to take an interest in and understand.

Continue reading "We’re really pawns in The Great Game" »


Did Zed go to Honiara to learn or to tell?

KEITH JACKSON

A Capture
Manasseh Sogavare and Zed Seselja pose stiffly for a photo after what seemed like a waste of time and jet fuel. Zed appeared to drop into Honiara empty-handed to praise Manasseh for a statement he made a couple of weeks ago and to express concern anyway

UPDATE

NOOSA – Australia’s international development minister Zed Seselja flew to Honiara today to reiterate his government’s previously expressed ‘growing concerns’ about the Solomons’ warming ties with China and a mysterious naval facility the Solomons knows nothing about.

It's highly unusual for a minister to travel overseas during the caretaker period of a national election, so reasons portentous looked at hand.

But now Zed's back to Aus, the trip appears more as a bit of campaign fluff to try to show Morrison et Fils are on the ball when it comes to pushing back against China.

Continue reading "Did Zed go to Honiara to learn or to tell?" »


US will work on PNG’s biggest problems

Land cleared by ExxonMobil for an airfield  Komo  2010 (Jes Aznar  The New York Times)
Men walk across land being cleared by ExxonMobil for Komo airstrip in 2010. The massive LNG project has been a major unsettling influence in the area (Jes Aznar,  New York Times)

BRIAN HARDING & NICOLE COCHRAN
| United States Institute of Peace | Edited

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - In terms of geographical size and population, Papua New Guinea is by far the biggest country in the Pacific Islands, a region increasingly central to United States’ strategic interests.

Along with neighbouring Solomon Islands, PNG is at the centre of a growing geopolitical contest between the US and its allies and China.

Continue reading "US will work on PNG’s biggest problems" »


Papuan hope is legacy of long dead Russian

Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (centre) meets Russian Ambassador to Indonesia  Lyudmila Vorobyeva  Jakarta  Monday (Tribun Manado)
Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (centre) meets Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobyeva in Jakarta (Tribun Manado)

YAMIN KOGOYA

BRISBANE - Russian president Vladimir Putin has been invited by Papuan governor Lukas Enembe to visit the Indonesian province later this year.

The invitation was extended when Enembe met Russian Ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorobyeva, last week and has triggered heated debate in social media.

Speculation is also rife about whether Indonesia — as chair of the G20 group of nations — will invite President Putin to attend the global forum in Bali later this year.

Continue reading "Papuan hope is legacy of long dead Russian" »


Brief encounter, big step: Nudging closer to Indonesia

PM Marape and President Widodo in Jakarta
James Marape and Joko Widodo meet over tea in Jakarta

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinean prime minister James Marape’s flying visit to Jakarta late last week drew much criticism on PNG social media because of the size of the accompanying delegation.

The cheap criticism obscured the mini-summit’s importance as an encounter where Marape and Indonesian president Joko Widodo were able to meet privately and face-to-face.

Continue reading "Brief encounter, big step: Nudging closer to Indonesia" »


China & the Solomons: Just how smart is Australia?

KEITH JACKSON

Sogavare and Xi
Manasseh Sogavare and Xi Jinping - security deal caused an Australian meltdown

NOOSA – In late October 2010, then United States’ secretary of state Hillary Clinton was in Honolulu nearing the end of a comprehensive tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

In two weeks Clinton was to visit Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, and high on her agenda were discussions about military cooperation and action “to respond to a more complex maritime environment”.

Continue reading "China & the Solomons: Just how smart is Australia?" »


Sogavare: China military for Solomons ‘nonsense’

Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare (SBM screenshot)
Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare (SBM screenshot)

ROBERT IROGA
| Asia Pacific Review | SBM Online | Edited

HONIARA – Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare has denied that China is being allowed to establish a military base in his country, which is 2,000 kilometers north-west of Australia.

Sogavare confirmed a security treaty had been finalised with China but said “there is no intention whatsoever to ask China to build a military base.

Continue reading "Sogavare: China military for Solomons ‘nonsense’" »


Australia is losing in the Pacific. Here’s why.

Dutton (9 News)
Defence Minister Peter Dutton (9 News)

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

"We share with our Pacific family culture, the principles of democracy and freedom, and these are things that are very important to the Pacific Island peoples” – Peter Dutton, Australian Defence Minister, Today

“Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door” – Peter Dutton's bad joke about (a) sea level rise in the Pacific and (b) what he sees as his Pacific family’s lack of attention to punctuality, 11 September 2015

CAIRNS – It is my personal observation following 35 years in Melanesia that Australia has hopelessly missed the mark when it comes to development assistance, and it continues to do so.

The total fixation on trying to build the capacity of central and sub-national agencies to the exclusion of an equal focus on communities has sunk almost every initiative you can name.

Continue reading "Australia is losing in the Pacific. Here’s why." »


Canberra wrings hands as Honiara goes pinkish

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Solomons prime minister Manasseh Sogavare and China's premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People, 9 October 2019 (Thomas Peter, Reuters)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Australian government and its tame media are displaying shock and indignation this morning as details come to light about Solomon Islands agreeing to cooperate with China in policing and security, roles historically performed by Australia.

In early February, PNG Attitude reported on extensive negotiations between the two countries that covered a long shopping list including almost every sector and industry in the Solomons.

Continue reading "Canberra wrings hands as Honiara goes pinkish" »


At war with the autocrats

It is by no means clear that the world’s authoritarian states see themselves as members
Professor Henry Reynolds - "It is by no means clear that the world’s authoritarian states see themselves as members of an 'anti-democratic coalition'. Some of the most autocratic are American allies"

HENRY REYNOLDS
| Pearls & Irritations

TOWNSVILLE - “I think we are in a contest,” President Biden declared in June last year, “not with China per se but with autocrats and autocratic governments around the world - whether or not democracies can compete with them in this rapidly changing 21st century.”

Was he referring to particular regimes that assumed a hostile stance towards the United States or were geo-political rivals? Or was it really autocracies anywhere and everywhere that had been put on notice.

Continue reading "At war with the autocrats" »


Three summits in Brussels as Ukraine fights back

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A Russian armoured personnel carrier burns amid damaged and abandoned utility vehicles after fighting in Kharkiv (Marienko Andrew, AP)

CHRIS OVERLAND & KEITH JACKSON

ADELAIDE & NOOSA – As the Ukraine War moves to its one-month anniversary, the more important Western nations are tonight holding an unprecedented series of three summits in Brussels - NATO, G7 and European Union, all in a row.

They do so as the outcomes of the war remain uncertain, but as Vladimir Putin’s destruction and terrorism continue.

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If you can’t win the war, kill the innocents….

theater in Mariupol
1,300 people had sought refuge in this theatre in Mariupol, bombed earlier this week. Only 130 have been rescued

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – The ugly war in Ukraine is not proceeding according to Vladimir Putin’s wishes.

The result so far is a strategic failure that seems to be engendering a situation within Russia that is quite unstable.

Dictatorships rest largely upon an ability to enforce control by inspiring fear, and they employ large security apparatuses to do this.

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