Pacific & West Papua Feed

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" »


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" »


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" »


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" »


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" »


The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme

AABUL RIZVI
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

Exploitation and abuse of Pacific Islands workers will be turbocharged as their numbers are being ramped up

CANBERRA - One of the symptoms of exploitation in the Pacific Access Labour Migration Scheme (PALMS) is the number of workers who abscond from their employer and apply for asylum.

Since late 2019, over 3,500 people from the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste have applied for asylum.

Continue reading "The mess that is the Pacific workers scheme" »


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" »


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'" »


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?" »


West Papua students ordered home from NZ

A Indonesia is leaving no stone unturned in applying pressure on West Papua
Indonesia is leaving no stone unturned in applying pressure on West Papua

SRI KRISHNAMURTHI
| Radio New Zealand | Pacific Digital Journalist
| Edited

AUCKLAND - West Papuan students are facing a difficult time in New Zealand after Indonesia terminated their scholarships and ordered them home.

Master of Communications student Laurens Ikinia told RNZ Pacific said he his dreams of a brighter future have been shattered by the Indonesian government.

Continue reading "West Papua students ordered home from NZ" »


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?" »


Dom’s poetry features in winning NZ play

Laufiso My Grandfather is a Canoe award presentation
'My Grandfather is a Canoe' director Marisiale Tunoka (centre) with musicians (from left) Oliver Tafuna’i, Waisea McGoon, Lopeti Sumner and Siaosi Kei

KEITH JACKSON

DUNEDIN - A play of Pacific cultures, voyaging and love, My Grandfather is a Canoe, including the poetry of Michael Dom, has won the prestigious Dunedin Fringe Festival’s Touring Award.

The award means the play will be performed at Christchurch’s Little Andromeda theatre in July and at the Auckland Fringe Festival in September.

Continue reading "Dom’s poetry features in winning NZ play" »


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" »


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." »


Violence against Asian-Pacific women in the US

Capture CAROLINE MIMBS NYCE
| Senior Associate Editor, The Atlantic

WASHINGTON DC - One year has passed since a gunman took the lives of six Asian women and two others at spas in the Atlanta area.

The shooting spurred new activism and awareness around violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States.

Continue reading "Violence against Asian-Pacific women in the US" »


In the Pacific, growing wariness of China

Capture 1
Samoa prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa skipped a recent summit between Pacific Island leaders and China (AFP)

CHARU SUDAN KASTURI
| Al Jazeera | Edited extracts

DELHI, INDIA - Flanked by senior diplomats in Beijing, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi addressed leaders from Pacific Island nations last October.

The president of Kiribati, prime ministers of Fiji, Tonga and Niue, and the foreign ministers of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia and Solomon Islands appeared in windows on a screen, their video summit meant to herald a new promise in China’s relations with their region.

Continue reading "In the Pacific, growing wariness of China" »


Call for urgent action on W Papua child killings

Relatives carry boy's body (Benar News)
Relatives of Makilon Tabuni carry his body to be cremated in Sinak village, West Papua, last month (Benar News)

NEWS DESK
| Asia Pacific Report | Edited

AUCKLAND - West Papuan leader Benny Wenda has praised the bravery of Ukrainians defending their country while condemning the hypocrisy of a self-styled ‘peaceful’ Indonesia attacking innocent civilians in Papua.

“The eyes of the world are watching in horror [at] the invasion of Ukraine,” Wenda said in a statement.

Continue reading "Call for urgent action on W Papua child killings" »


What about West Papua? It’s our Ukraine

AMICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - It took less than a week for the world to come together to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sanctions were applied to Putin, oligarchs and the Russian Central Bank, there was a suspension of SWIFT banking services and weapons and aid money were supplied to Ukraine.

Continue reading "What about West Papua? It’s our Ukraine" »


The quiet militarisation of the Pacific

The Vanuatu government borrowed money from China to fund the Luganville Wharf (Slone Fred  Stuff)
The Vanuatu government borrowed money from China to fund the Luganville Wharf (Slone Fred,  Stuff)

LUCY CRAYMER
| Stuff New Zealand | Edited extracts

WELLINGTON, NZ - When the media started reporting in 2018 that China might seek to use the Vanuatu wharf for military vessels, the foreign minister at the time, Ralph Regenvanu, denied this was a possibility.

“There was nothing in the contract around this idea that we would have to lose the wharf if we couldn’t pay back the loans.

Continue reading "The quiet militarisation of the Pacific" »


New strategy boosts US presence in PNG

L128 approaching Lombrum Naval Base
HMAS Labuan approaching Lombrun naval base at dusk. The landing craft made many visits to PNG between 1973 and 2005. She was retired in 2014 after a remarkable 43 years in service

BEN JACKSON

SUNSHINE BEACH, QLD - Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island states can expect more attention from the good old US of A as the Biden administration continues to push the ‘undo’ button on Trump era isolationism.

There has been a marked increase in US engagement in the region following the launch of its new Indo-Pacific strategy in mid-February.

Continue reading "New strategy boosts US presence in PNG" »


US Coast Guard & PNG: Those who defend must also protect

Crew of coastguard cutter
Crew of Coast Guard Cutter 'Stratton' on patrol in Fiji's exclusive economic zone, February 2022

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - When the US Coast Guard sailed into Fairfax Harbour, Port Moresby, last Thursday morning to be welcomed by Papua New Guinea’s defence minister Win Daki, there was at least one person feeling disgruntled.

“We are getting ourselves into a serious blunder of a lifetime,” said business leader and national affairs commentator, Corney Alone.

Continue reading "US Coast Guard & PNG: Those who defend must also protect" »


China rejects Pacific ‘debt trap’ accusations

China Embassy in Kiribati (Rimon Rimon  Stuff)
The embassy of the People's Republic of China in Kiribati (Rimon Rimon,  Stuff)

LUCY CRAYMER
| STUFF NZ
| With Joanne Holden (Cook Islands), Dorothy Wickham (Solomon Islands), Lisa Monovo (Fiji) & Talaia Mika (Samoa)

WELLINGTON, NZ - Drive from the airport to Nuku'alofa, Tonga, and on the side of the road, you’ll see a ‘China Aid’ sign erected outside a school.

Take the road between Nadi and Suva, and you’ll spot a recently-built hospital made with Chinese money. There is a sign etched into the peach wall to remind passers-by: China funded it.

Continue reading "China rejects Pacific ‘debt trap’ accusations" »


China alert: ABC wants to revive Pacific service

ABC chief David Anderson says Pacific countries are concerned about Chinese media content (Adriane Reardon)
ABC chief David Anderson says Pacific countries are concerned about Chinese media content (Adriane Reardon)

HENRY BELOT
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - The managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation says Pacific public broadcasters have raised concerns about Chinese government pressure to carry state-controlled news content.

As China increases its influence in the region, David Anderson told a Senate committee on Tuesday the ABC is planning to expand its operations in the Pacific and play a greater ‘soft diplomacy’ role.

Continue reading "China alert: ABC wants to revive Pacific service" »


US Solomons embassy aims to counter China

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken in Suva at the weekend - new Solomons embassy required before China becomes “strongly embedded”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Cold on the heels of the Solomon Islands and China establishing diplomatic relations and, coincidentally, just a day after the disclosure of a broad-based cooperation plan between the two countries, the United States has announced its intention to open an embassy in Honiara.

The US had an embassy in the the country between 1988 and 1993, when it was closed.

Continue reading "US Solomons embassy aims to counter China" »


Solomons-China reveal huge cooperation program

John Fugui
John Fugui, Solomons first ambassador to China,  meets Director-General of Oceanic Affairs Lu Kang, Beijing,  July 2021

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In September 2019, the Solomon Islands ditched diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of the People’s Republic of China.

In return the Chinese pledged support for the Solomons in moving “forward in the development path it has chosen for itself”.

Now, eight months after John Fugui was installed as the new ambassador to China, he has revealed what form that pledge will take.

Continue reading "Solomons-China reveal huge cooperation program" »


Covid: The Pacific response - January 2022

Covid snapshot 2 February
Covid in the Pacific - January headlines

PSC NEWS DESK
| Australia Pacific Security College (PSC)

CANBERRA -The rapid spread of the Omicron variant within the Pacific has seen community transmission in the previously Covid-19-free countries of Palau, Kiribati, Tonga, and Solomon Islands.

The Omicron variant has led to a significant increase in the number of cases throughout the Pacific region to start 2022, with the majority of countries now seeing community transmission of Covid or having cases in quarantine.

Continue reading "Covid: The Pacific response - January 2022" »


Memo USA: Being a better partner in the Pacific

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mathew Diendorf
Pictures exercising in the Pacific, the US Navy V-22B Osprey has vertical and short takeoff and landing capabilities (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mathew Diendorf)

ALAN TIDWELL
| War on the Rocks | Edited extracts

Link here to Professor Tidwell’s complete and comprehensive essay on the challenges and opportunities facing the US in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. It is also a timely note to Australia, whose own Pacific strategy has become less than clear - KJ 

WASHINGTON DC - The United States’ Indo-Pacific coordinator, Kurt Campbell, recently grabbed attention by saying that the US may soon face a “strategic surprise” in the Pacific.

He appears to have had in mind agreements and basing arrangements between Pacific Island countries and China.

Continue reading "Memo USA: Being a better partner in the Pacific" »


China is outfoxing US in the Indo-Pacific

FlagsSYED MUNIR KHASRU
| South China Morning Post

DHAKA - Beijing understands that economic security created through trade is more enduring than when done through military superiority.

China has deepened ties with Singapore, signing 14 new deals at an annual bilateral cooperation meeting held on 29 December.

Continue reading "China is outfoxing US in the Indo-Pacific" »


Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide

Yamin Kogoya
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"

YAMIN KOGOYA

CANBERRA - The colonial notion of ‘civilising primitive Papuans’ has distorted Papuan perceptions of the world and themselves.

This distortion began with how New Guinea and its people were described in early colonial literature: unintelligent pygmies, cannibals and pagan savages –  people devoid of value.

Not only did this depiction foster a racist outlook but it misrepresented reality as it was experienced and understood by Papuans for thousands of years.

Continue reading "Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide" »


Miserly Australia cuts Pacific aid again

Aid
Australia will cut its foreign aid next year even though the impacts of the Covid pandemic are still hurting Pacific Island nations (Development Policy Centre)

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Australian government reversed its earlier policy of cutting aid, and started to increase it.

Aid increased from $4.29 billion in 2019-20, before the pandemic, to $4.56 billion in 2020-21, the first year of the pandemic (amounts adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2021 prices.)

Continue reading "Miserly Australia cuts Pacific aid again" »


Pacific whanau must be honoured

Dr Damon Salesa … We need to honour … and be connected to our whanau around the Pacific (Radio New Zealand)
Dr Damon Salesa - "We need to honour and be connected to our whanau around the Pacific" (Radio New Zealand)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The new vice-chancellor of Auckland University of Technology (AUT), is keenly aware that he has broken through another glass ceiling.

The son of a factory worker, Dr Damon Salesa made New Zealand history last week as the first Pacific person to be appointed to head a New Zealand university.

Continue reading "Pacific whanau must be honoured" »


Papua’s long betrayal: 60 years of repression

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"Every drop of Papuan blood leaves a trail leading to the perpetrators, the crime scenes and, eventually, to Papuan statehood"

YAMIN KOGOYA

CANBERRA – Yesterday, 1 December, marked 60 years since the State of Papua came into being.

In the centuries preceding 1961, Ortiz de Rates, a Spanish explorer, renamed the island ‘Nueva Guinea’ (New Guinea)’ on 20 June 1545 and, hearing of his alleged discovery, other Europeans followed.

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