Foreign affairs & defence Feed

Our impure Ozocracy is beginning to buckle

War-is-too-important-to-be-left-to-politicians
Brigadier General Jack D Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in 'Dr Strangelove', a black comedy directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick (1964)

BERNARD CORDEN & KEITH JACKSON

“It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil” - Anthony Burgess

“Your Commie has no regard for human life. Not even his own” – Brigadier General Jack D Ripper (Dr Strangelove)

“Mr President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks” - General 'Buck' Turgidson (Dr Strangelove)

Continue reading "Our impure Ozocracy is beginning to buckle" »


Australia strands asylum seekers in PNG

Capture
The Manus detention centre in October 2017 ahead of its closure

STEFAN ARMBRUSTER
| SBS News | Extract

BRISBANE - The end to eight years of Australia's detention of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea has raised concerns for the United Nations' refugee agency and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The AHRC has questioned whether the Australian government is able to relinquish full responsibility for more than 120 detainees who remain in PNG while still adhering to rights and refugee treaty obligations.

Continue reading "Australia strands asylum seekers in PNG" »


This is a time for superb leadership

Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu (544-496 BC),  Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher 

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - While I agree with Phil Fitzpatrick's observation, in a comment to PNG Attitude, that the USA has involved both itself and Australia in a series of mostly disastrous wars, it does not necessarily follow that this is inevitable in the case of rising tensions with China.

I say this for several reasons but will mention only one, which is China's serious vulnerability to a trade embargo.

Continue reading "This is a time for superb leadership" »


AUKUS, PNG & the build-up against China

Aukus subsKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The Australian mass media and opposition Labor Party have “missed the point” of the AUKUS pact which saw the Morrison government dump a huge submarine contract, says Mike Scrafton, former senior adviser to Australia’s defence minister.

Writing for Pearls and Irritations, Scrafton forecasts that, under Australia’s new strategic arrangements with the United States and the United Kingdom, there will be a major step-up in the US militarisation in Australia.

Continue reading "AUKUS, PNG & the build-up against China" »


Oz sub decision of little import

Turtle
The world's first submarine, Turtle, was built by American inventor David Bushnell in 1775 for use against British warships in the Revolutionary War that gave birth to the United States. Due to the single operator's lack of skill, it failed to wreak even the slightest amount of havoc

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – I’m struggling to see how the acquisition of American nuclear submarines necessarily binds us to its foreign policy, let alone fighting a war with it.

If the mere acquisition of US made hardware and very secret and sophisticated technology did that, then surely buying 75 F35 fighters has long since locked us into that role?

Similarly, I struggle with the idea that buying a genuinely potent weapon as a means of defence is a provocation.

Continue reading "Oz sub decision of little import" »


No room for neutrality in this new world

Capture
Scott Morrison looks at Joe Biden on a video link - "China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I think Phil Fitzpatrick, The US sets up Australia for war, has invested Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines with more significance than it deserves, at least as far as the prospect of war is concerned.

As I have written before, in Rationality & balance required for China, the 'dance of death' between a resurgent and increasingly nationalistic and belligerent China and the previously dominant USA began some time ago.

Continue reading "No room for neutrality in this new world" »


Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (AFP)
Scott Morrison has placed Australia on the front line of any future war with China (AFP)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The editorial in this weekend’s ‘The Saturday Paper’ is interesting. It quotes Hugh White, former deputy-secretary of the Defence Department.

In an article elsewhere, White suggests that conventional submarines are perfectly suited if Australia is only interested in defending itself, whereas nuclear-powered submarines are perfectly suited to attacking another country.

Continue reading "Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice" »


Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism

James Bhagwan  general secretary  Pacific Council of Churches (Radio New Zealand  Jamie Tahana)
Rev James Bhagwan,  general secretary of the Pacific Council of Churches - "Australia is not acting in the best interests of  vuvale,  family" (Radio New Zealand Jamie Tahana)

JOHNNY BLADES
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Edited extracts

AUCKLAND - Australia's new security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom has touched a nerve at the core of Pacific regionalism.

The AUKUS alliance, announced by the leaders of the three countries late last week, finds them seeking strategic advantage in the Indo-Pacific region.

Continue reading "Aukus strikes at heart of Pacific regionalism" »


US sets up Australia for a China war

Johnson  Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight)
The Big Three Meet - Johnson Biden and Morrison (Mark Knight, Herald-Sun)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The United States of America is a warmonger but prefers to fight its wars in other people’s countries: Moro (Philippines), Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, the list goes on and, as you can read here, it is very, very long.

War and the military industrial complex are inextricably entwined in the US economy and now it seems to be quite advanced in its planning for the next war – another one in our backyard, the Indo-Pacific.

Continue reading "US sets up Australia for a China war" »


Australia’s feeble ‘blame China’ narrative

China-v-AustraliaSOURABH GUPTA
| East Asia Forum

WASHINGTON - The Australia–China relationship has been in the deep doldrums for some time now.

Australian commentary pins the blame for the deterioration of bilateral ties on "China’s aggressive attempt to expand the domestic authoritarianism of [Chinese] President Xi Jinping into the Indo-Pacific region".

Continue reading "Australia’s feeble ‘blame China’ narrative" »


Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer

Denis O'Brien
Digicel's Denis O'Brien - Australia's China troubles is the tycoon's get rid of debt card

BUSINESS DESK
| The Irish Times | Extract

DUBLIN - The downward spiral in relations between China and Australia in the past year has played into the hands of businessman Denis O’Brien as he looks to further reduce the debt burden of his Digicel telecoms group.

Early last year O’Brien effectively forced bondholders to write off $1.6 billion (K5.6 billion) of what they were owed.

Continue reading "Telstra visit signals Digicel deal is closer" »


PNG & Oz ministers mull relationship

Dragon2KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The 28th Papua New Guinea–Australia Ministerial Forum on Thursday undertook a wide-ranging if shallow canter through the major issues facing both countries.

The agenda of the virtual conference, co-chaired by foreign ministers Soroi Marepo Eoe and Senator Marise Payne, covered Covid, defence cooperation, the PNG economy, business, agriculture and other aspects of what was flashily styled as a ”dynamic partnership”.

Continue reading "PNG & Oz ministers mull relationship" »


Asia (& PNG) are places you fly over

Phil Williams was a highly regarded foreign correspondent for the ABC
Phil Williams was a highly regarded foreign correspondent for the ABC

BRUCE DOVER & IAN MACINTOSH
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - By ignoring Asia and the Pacific, the Australian media is contributing towards the creation of a more insular and parochial and less understanding country.

Any examination of Australia’s media these days suggests the country’s news editors have adopted an adage attributed to former prime minister Paul Keating – that Asia (or Papua New Guinea) was a place you flew over on the way to Europe – or Washington in our case.

Continue reading "Asia (& PNG) are places you fly over" »


Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge

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The Indian High Commission in Port Moresby

IAN LLOYD NEUBAUER
| Al Jazeera | Edited extract

SYDNEY - The Indian high commission in Papua New Guinea has denied claims by PNG police commissioner David Manning that it helped unauthorised passengers, including four who were infected with Covid-19, to arrive in Port Moresby.

The denial came after Mr Manning last week banned all flights from India, accusing the Indian government of deliberately participating in deception that compromised PNG’s safety and security.

Continue reading "Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge" »


Global upheaval is global unpredictability

US military
'As a fighting machine the US military remains without peer'

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Martin Hadlow's comments, ‘Taliban had time, and are not so benign, are both informed and pertinent.

There has been much hysterical commentary in the media about the sudden collapse of the Afghan government and of the USA's precipitous and badly planned withdrawal.

Continue reading "Global upheaval is global unpredictability" »


Taliban had time, & are not so benign

Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper
Hand-compiling the Kabul Weekly newspaper (Martin Hadlow)

MARTIN HADLOW

SAMFORD VALLEY - After living and working for long periods in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, I align myself with those who would consider themselves 'professional optimists.'

However, even my optimism was tempered when I read Tony Kevin's view of the Taliban and how it operates, 'The Afghanistan disaster, Russia & China'.

Continue reading "Taliban had time, & are not so benign" »


The Afghanistan disaster, Russia & China

China
China was one of the first countries to recognise the Taliban's Islamic government In Afghanistan. "We respect the people's decision," said a spokesman

TONY KEVIN
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

CANBERRA - The fall of the Ashraf Ghani regime in Kabul came very suddenly but was entirely predictable.

Neighbouring great powers China and Russia had been quietly preparing for this expected outcome for months.

Russia has in practical ways been reaffirming its reliable security obligations to the ‘Stans’ on Afghanistan’s northern border and has doubtless engaged in informal diplomacy with Taliban contacts.

Continue reading "The Afghanistan disaster, Russia & China" »


The shape of things to come

Shape-of-things-to-comeCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The title to this piece comes from a book written by H G Wells and published in 1933.

In his book, Wells made a number of predictions about how the world would develop in the aftermath of World War I.

Some of his predictions were correct, notably regarding the development and use of air power to influence the outcome of warfare, especially strategic bombing.

Continue reading "The shape of things to come" »


An open letter to our Pacific friends

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Who would want to have these three as family? Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton share a cruel joke at the expense of Pacific islanders, their attitudes and hypocrisy on public view

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - On behalf of all concerned people in Australia I would like to extend a sincere apology to the nations and people of the South Pacific.

We apologise for the misguided, inadequate, cowardly and reckless actions of our Australian federal government in failing to take seriously the dire consequences to you of climate change.

Continue reading "An open letter to our Pacific friends" »


Pacific step-up or business as usual?

Webinar host Prof Meg Keen  Senator Zed Seselja and Dame Annette King (
Webcast host Prof Meg Keen,  Senator Zed Seselja and Dame Annette King (Ben Bohane)

LEONARD LOUMA
| Asia and the Pacific Policy Society | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY – After working at senior levels in the Papua New Guinea government, sitting across the table from New Zealand and Australia in the tough work of diplomacy, I have seen how both countries engage.

I thought revealing a recent discussion on the Pacific Step-Up in a webcast hosted by the Australia Pacific Security College which featured Australia’s Pacific minister, Zed Seselja, and New Zealand’s high commissioner to Australia, Dame Annette King.

Continue reading "Pacific step-up or business as usual?" »


Does the Pacific want Australia to lead?

Richard Marles
Richard Marles - the only Pacific-themed photo of him I could find. Slightly out of focus, which seemed appropriate

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The book's title is a strained pun and the 2,000 word extract he allowed the Sydney Morning Herald gives the impression he’s struggling to kick an invisible ball at hidden goal posts.

And, if this chapter is any indication, 'Tides that Bind: Australia in the Pacific’, by Australia’s deputy opposition leader Richard Marles, is a strange piece of work.

Continue reading "Does the Pacific want Australia to lead?" »


Pacific leaders seek strong regional solidarity

James Marape in a virtual conference (Prime Ministerial Media)
James Marape in a virtual conference (Prime Ministerial Media)

NEWS DESK
| PNG Bulletin Online

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape has joined leaders of the Pacific to call for stronger solidarity, a renewed Covid-19 response and tougher action on climate change.

Marape joined 12 other leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum as it convened on Friday in a virtual retreat to mark the last 50 years since its establishment in 1971 in New Zealand.

Continue reading "Pacific leaders seek strong regional solidarity" »


Aussie needs some Melanesian Way on China

TopPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinea appears to be handling its relationship with China much better than Australia.

The Melanesian propensity to seek consensus, rather than muscling up in a confrontational manner, might have something to do with it.

So too might Papua New Guineans’ emphasis on respect rather than derision.

Continue reading "Aussie needs some Melanesian Way on China" »


Colours of battle still shine for best friends

PIX 1
PNGDF project team leader Lieutenant Livia Wrakonei points the way to Australia’s High Commissioner Jon Philp and PNGDF chief Major-General Gilbert Toropo

ALEXANDER NARA

MURRAY BARRACKS, PORT MORESBY - Best friends are connected souls, so to speak. They align. They trust each other.

Some say our best friends can be our worst enemies, but Chinese philosopher Mencius (372-289 BC) said, “Best friends are our own siblings that God did not give us.”

These types of friends are rare and bless us with true companionship.

Continue reading "Colours of battle still shine for best friends" »


Australia must focus on cooperation not China

(Xia Qing  Global Times)
China's helping hand in the race against Covid (Xia Qing - Global Times)

ZHOU FANGYIN
| Global Times

This article has been edited from a Global Times interview with Mr Zhou, who is director of the Centre for Pacific Island Countries Studies at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies - KJ

BEIJING - Despite a troubled vaccination progress at home, Australia has still found energy to interfere in the vaccination rollout in Papua New Guinea by touting vaccine rivalry between itself and China.

PNG, which recently detected its first case of the highly contagious Delta variant, has agreed to vaccine offerings from a number of suppliers including China, Australia, New Zealand and Covax, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.

Continue reading "Australia must focus on cooperation not China" »


PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play

When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and added he also wanted to thank Australia (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)
When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Port Moresby,  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and also Australia to appear even-handed (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)

NATALIE WHITING
| ABC Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Link to Natalie’s complete article here

PORT MORESBY - On two sides of Papua New Guinea's capital, there are duelling vaccine rollouts run by Australian and Chinese representatives taking place.

In the face of a contagious new variant and widespread vaccine hesitancy, PNG is taking help from any neighbour offering it.

Continue reading "PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play" »


‘Floating, adrift on the tides of prejudice’

The Daily Mirror (Sydney)  11 March 1954 The White Australia Policy officially ended in 1958
The Daily Mirror (Sydney) 11 March 1954.  The White Australia Policy officially ended in 1958

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – To augment and provide some formal legal underpinnings for Stefan Armbruster’s fine article on the sad case of Troyrone (Troy) Zen Lee, I am publishing two extracts from longer commentaries by legal experts.

For those readers who wish to better understand the arguments involved, and the somewhat confusing (not to mention slender) basis on which Parliament’s sometimes make their laws, I believe these extracts will be useful as they advert to Lee's and other like cases.

Continue reading "‘Floating, adrift on the tides of prejudice’" »


Builders: The story of Mendi’s Royal Engineers

The Ialibu-Kagua built by 12 CE Works was sealed in 2019
The Ialibu-Kagua road built by 12 CE Works in the 1970s was finally sealed in 2019

KEVIN PAMBA
| Harim Tok Tok

MADANG - By the time the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) unit left Mendi in 1999, most parts of the former Southern Highlands Province (Hela was created from its western region in 2012) were connected by basic roads while the more outlying areas had airstrips.

Members of the Australian Army’s engineering corps had been deployed to Mendi in 1970 to run the Provincial Works Division.

Continue reading "Builders: The story of Mendi’s Royal Engineers" »


Oz sweats to keep Pacific telcos from China

DigiCHRIS DUCKETT
| ZDNet | Edited extracts

SYDNEY - Australia is funding the potential purchase of a Pacific telco for only one reason, to ensure China Mobile doesn't get to it first.

It now appears Australia wants a crack at showing the world how to keep companies out of Chinese ownership.

Continue reading "Oz sweats to keep Pacific telcos from China" »


Berati family sues Oz govt over Manus murder

Reza Barati
Reza Barati was just 23 when bashed to death by Australian guards at a refugee camp on Manus

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The parents of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died in February 2014 after being brutally beaten at an Australian-run detention centre, have begun legal action over his death.

Berati was 23 when killed by guards in a violent riot at the Manus Island camp that injured 77 other asylum seekers.

Continue reading "Berati family sues Oz govt over Manus murder" »


Covid is now a China-Australia power play

James Marape receives 15 ventilators donated by the Chinese government
PNG prime minister James Marape receives 15 ventilators donated by the Chinese government

JULIA HOLLINGSWORTH & BEN WESTCOTT
CNN Digital Worldwide | Edited extracts

Link here for the complete analysis

HONG KONG - China and Australia have found another battleground for their deepening diplomatic standoff: the Pacific islands' pandemic response.

Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea, the most-populous Pacific nation.

Continue reading "Covid is now a China-Australia power play" »


Transparency defends besieged regulator

Loi-Bakani
Loi Bakani - "The Bank of PNG disassociates itself from the statement made by FASU”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has strongly supported PNG’s financial regulator after Central Bank governor dissociated his bank from action it had taken to investigate possible money laundering.

TIPNG chair Peter Aitsi called on the government and the private sector to respect the independence of the Financial Analysis and Supervision Unit (FASU).

Continue reading "Transparency defends besieged regulator" »


Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout

Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated
Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated with the highly effective Chinese Sinopharm vaccine

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea began the rollout of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday, with Forests Minister Walter Schnaubelt receiving the first official jab.

China supplied PNG with 200, 000 doses in late June, with 2,500 doses already given to Chinese nationals in the country as a confidence builder.

Continue reading "Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout" »


Australian saboteurs block vaccine, says China

Panda & Roo (Chen Xia)
Cartoon by Chen Xia in the Global Times

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - China has made the extraordinary claim that Australia has planted political operatives in Papua New Guinea to undermine China's vaccine cooperation with Pacific Island countries.

The English-language Global Times newspaper, published in Beijing, accuses Australian ‘consultants’ of manipulating PNG’s Covid prevention policies.

Continue reading "Australian saboteurs block vaccine, says China" »


Sinking DFAT cedes influence to ASPI

Bruce Haigh
Bruce Haigh - "DFAT has overseen the biggest Australian foreign policy disaster in 70 years" 

BRUCE HAIGH
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - Despite the line spun by Frances Adamson AC, recently retired head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the department appears to be in the process of being scuttled by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

Speaking as a guest on ABC Insiders, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne gave an unenlightening tour of the foreign policy issues facing Australia, from ‘all the way with the USA’ to ‘it is all China’s fault’.

Continue reading "Sinking DFAT cedes influence to ASPI" »


China, PNG & Australia’s backyard blues

Daru (Natalie Whiting  ABC)
Daru. "Australian commentators on the issue of Chinese manoeuvring in PNG are invariably slanted," writes Binoy Kampmark (Photo - Natalie Whiting ABC)

BINOY KAMPMARK
| International Policy Digest

MELBOURNE - Clever diplomacy rarely involves total commitment or unqualified fidelity to any one state.

Treacherous waters require careful navigation, an understanding of shifty and shifting allegiances.

The goal for the prudent statesperson is the pursuit of self-interest without alienation.

Continue reading "China, PNG & Australia’s backyard blues" »


China & Australia hold perils for PNG

Crew of Chinese training ship Qi Jiguang visit Dili (Li Mingyu)
Crew of the Chinese training ship Qi Jiguang on a visit Dili (Li Mingyu, China Military Online)

JIM MOORE

WARRADALE, SA - In September 1999, I went to East Timor (Timor-Leste) to work with an aid agency in the aftermath of the 25-year civil war and the savage lead-up to the independence referendum.

It is almost impossible to imagine the devastation that was visited on this former province of Indonesia that became an independent but desperately poor nation.

Continue reading "China & Australia hold perils for PNG" »


Don’t smear our ties with PNG, says China

Zhao Lijian
Zhao Lijian - "Not the first time the Australian media has hyped up the so-called China-threat theory"

NEWS DESK
| Global Times

BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said that any attempt to attack or smear China - Papua New Guinea relations or drive a wedge between the two countries is futile.

Zhao made the remarks in response to a misleading Australian media report claiming the upgrading of PNG's main naval base helps to counter China's challenge in the region.

Continue reading "Don’t smear our ties with PNG, says China" »


Beijing answers this man's calls; not hers

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne with PNG counterpart Soroi Eoe  who enjoys better access to China than Australia (ABC)
Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne with PNG counterpart Soroi Eoe who enjoys better access to China than Australia (ABC)

DENNIS ATKINS
| In Queensland

BRISBANE - For Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, her Beijing counterpart Wang Yi is the guy who puts her on hold.

Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs and international trade minister Soroi Eoe has no such problem.

He’s got his Chinese elbow bumping buddy on speed dial.

Continue reading "Beijing answers this man's calls; not hers" »


A government with a truly wicked dilemma

Tharnicaa Murugappan
Will Tharnicaa be bundled onto a plane and ejected from the country of her birth?

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The Biloela family have now become icons for both the left and right of Australian politics.

For those on the right they represent some sort of existential threat from hordes of people of colour who want to flee to Australia to escape from repressive regimes in their countries of origin.

Continue reading "A government with a truly wicked dilemma" »


Western posturing & global white privilege

Chandran Nair -
Chandran Nair - "Instead of being captive to an idealised vision of the West, the rest of the world is waking up to Western narratives, fallacies and weaknesses"

CHANDRAN NAIR
| South China Morning Post

HONG KONG - The West’s disingenuous position on Israel and its coordinated attacks on China have blown the cover of the liberal narratives it uses to hide a postcolonial, imperialist agenda.

Its hypocrisy has been further exposed by its hoarding of coronavirus vaccines and the systemic racism that prompted the Black Lives Matter protests and fuelled attacks on people of Asian descent.

Continue reading "Western posturing & global white privilege" »


Lombrum contract awarded to Australian company

Lombrum
Artist's impression of the site of the upgrade works at Lombrum naval base - more boomerang aid

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Australian government says that Australia and Papua New Guinea’s security partnership has reached an important milestone with a contract for the redevelopment of Lombrum Naval Base awarded to Clough Australia.

According to Australia’s defence department, the contract will strengthen the PNG Defence Force capability to “protect PNG’s borders and maritime resources”.

Continue reading "Lombrum contract awarded to Australian company" »


US warns Pacific about Chinese ‘coercion’

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken - “Economic coercion across the region is on the rise”

KATE LYONS
| The Guardian | Edited extracts

Link here to the full article

SYDNEY - The US secretary of state Antony Blinken has warned leaders of Pacific countries about “threats to the rules-based international order” and “economic coercion”, in what appears to be a veiled swipe at China’s growing influence in the region.

Blinken was addressing leaders and their delegates from 11 Pacific countries and territories including Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Palau and Marshall Islands as part of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders, which is held in Hawaii.

Continue reading "US warns Pacific about Chinese ‘coercion’" »


‘We’ll learn from you,’ PNG tells China

Soroi Eoe and Wang Yi
Foreign ministers Soroi Eoe (PNG) and Wang Yi (China) meet in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)

NEWS DESK
| Xinhua

GUIYANG – China’s State councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi has held talks with Soroi Eoe, Papua New Guinea’s minister of foreign affairs and international trade.

The meeting, held in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Continue reading "‘We’ll learn from you,’ PNG tells China" »


China in the Pacific: We must do better

China 1JEFFREY WALL
| Online Opinion

BRISBANE - I am increasingly of the view that the plans by a Chinese state owned fishing company to build a port and ‘fisheries factory’ on Daru is part of a strategic plan by China to expand its Pacific presence, and influence.

Of course it is designed to irritate Australia, and undermine our influence in Papua New Guinea something China has most certainly given more focus as our relations with the Peoples Republic of China has deteriorated.

Continue reading "China in the Pacific: We must do better" »


DFAT – elite became a feather duster

Bruce Haigh
Bruce Haigh - 'The best and brightest who challenge policy or who seek to put forward policy in the face of domestic political imperatives are sidelined and rendered voiceless and powerless'

BRUCE HAIGH
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - There was a time in the sixties through to the 1980s when DFAT, the Department of Foreign Affairs (Trade was subsumed in 1987), was a powerful department within the Australian federal bureaucracy.

Its branches mirrored every major department in Canberra and when it felt necessary it would intervene in policies being developed by other departments, and often enough DFAT prevailed.

Continue reading "DFAT – elite became a feather duster" »


If we’re family, remember what we share

Morrison marape
Scott Morrison and James Marape. Morrison talks of PNG as “family” and the Pacific as “our patch” 

PATRICIA A O'BRIEN
| The Conversation

CANBERRA – Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is fond of describing Papua New Guinea as ‘family’. He did so recently when announcing Australia’s assistance with PNG’s Covid-19 outbreak.

The urgent support for PNG in the form of vaccines, testing kits, medical personnel and training was “in Australia’s interests”, Morrison said, because it threatens the health of Australians, “but equally our PNG family who are so dear to us”.

Continue reading "If we’re family, remember what we share" »


Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG

New covid cases
The steep rise in new Covid cases in PNG that has alarmed authorities on both sides of the Torres Strait

MITCH RYAN
| Nikkei Asia

SYDNEY -- Papua New Guinea long appeared to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. But a surge in cases since February has brought the country’s largest hospital to the brink of collapse.

For the nation's much larger neighbour, Australia, the outbreak is considered a serious threat as well as a critical moment in a broader ‘vaccine diplomacy’ campaign.

Continue reading "Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG" »


Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines

SinovacERYK BAGSHAW & RACHEL CLUN
with BEVAN SHIELDS
| Sydney Morning Herald | Extracts

SYDNEY - Two of Australia’s top infectious disease and immunology experts say Papua New Guinea should take up the offer of Chinese-made vaccines if they are safe, as Europe threatens to withhold vaccine deliveries and PNG teeters on the edge of a Covid-19 disaster.

China has made repeated overtures to Papua New Guinea in recent months, offering to send vaccines to the country to “support each other’s core interests”.

Continue reading "Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines" »


Australia records gratitude to Grand Chief

Morrison
Hon Scott Morrison MP

SCOTT MORRISON MP

Motion to acknowledge the life and service of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare delivered in the Parliament of Australia by Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison on 16 March 2021, as recorded in Hansard.

CANBERRA - Mr Speaker, I move that this House acknowledge the passing on the 26th of February 2021 of Papua New Guinea Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and place on record its gratitude of his long-standing and respected relationship with Australia and tender its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

Continue reading "Australia records gratitude to Grand Chief" »