Pacific & West Papua Feed

Can Pacific rugby league edge out China?

If a Pacific team was included, it would almost certainly have no one from PNG if based on merit. Yet the widespread assumption created by Albanese and Marles is that single Pacific team would be led by PNG

Pacific png v fiji
Papua New Guinea and Fiji scramble for the ball. Yet it's Samoa and Tonga who are the best Pacific Islands teams

BRIAN TOOHEY
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY – Australia’s defence minister Richard Marles and prime minister Anthony Albanese would like to see two Papua New Guinea rugby league teams join the Australian club competition as a way to counter China’s growing influence.

Instead of banging on about China, why not start a new regional competition including one or two Pacific Islands teams, New Zealand and Australia? Sport will deliver much better foreign policy dividend if it is not used as a crude geopolitical instrument.

Continue reading "Can Pacific rugby league edge out China?" »


The brutal life of West Papuan refugees in PNG

"Even in the hell of life, God reminds us of the beautiful gift of children. I reached out my hand as tears rolled down my eyes. Their gentle hands were rich in kindness, gratitude and smiles. I could not speak"

Kanamon
West Papuan refugees at Hohola with visitors from Caritas and the Catholic Bishops Conference who have supported them in Port Moresby and PNG’s border provinces (Reilly Kanamon)

REILLY KANAMON

PORT MORESBY – The plea from the West Papuan refugees in Port Moresby was resounding.

“All we long for now is a piece of land we can own. A piece of land that is all we need to rebuild ourselves, that is home to us.”

Continue reading "The brutal life of West Papuan refugees in PNG" »


Solomons partnership must be truth-based

Australia claims to be a friend and family to the Pacific, and it is true Australia has been an important aid donor for decades. But gratitude for this aid is tempered by scepticism about who it actually helps

Sogavare Albanese
Prime ministers Sogavare and Albanese - sweet talk of 'family' is no substitute for a genuine and equitable relationship

DOROTHY WICKHAM, TARCISIUS KABUTAULAKA et al*
| Pursuit | The University of Melbourne

MELBOURNE - Last week, Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare and Australia’s Anthony Albanese met in Canberra for the first time, less than a month after Australia offered to fund Solomon Islands’ elections to avoid delay.

Since Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China earlier this year, the country has garnered unprecedented global attention.

Continue reading "Solomons partnership must be truth-based" »


Opportunism reigns: US-Pacific Declaration

As has become customary in the Blinkenesque argot, one takes the management waffle with the occasional candid remark. China, the obvious target in this deeper regional engagement by the US, is not mentioned once.

China us pacific
GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement) is a military intelligence sharing agreement between Japan and South Korea (Map by ABC)

BINOY KAMPMARK
| Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - If ever there was a blatant statement of realpolitik masquerading as friendliness, the latest US-Pacific Island declaration must count as one of them.

The Biden administration has been busy of late wooing Pacific Island states in an effort to discourage increasingly sharp tilt towards China.

Continue reading "Opportunism reigns: US-Pacific Declaration" »


Ill Papua governor banned from treatment

Spokesperson Rifai Darus said Governor Enembe's home is being closely guarded by thousands of people, including his close relatives

Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)
Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)

LAURENS IKINIA
| Asia Pacific Review | Edited

AUCKLAND - Governor Lukas Enembe of Indonesia’s Papua Province has been banned from travelling abroad, preventing him from undergoing vital medical treatment in the Philippines.

It is believed the popular governor of Melanesian Papua is the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in the region.

Continue reading "Ill Papua governor banned from treatment" »


And remember - it's not always about China

Veterans in Pacific media must be in a strange position. To see a space so often ignored suddenly taken over by a cacophony of clueless commentators

Ardern suva
Jacinda Ardern talks to journalists in Suva - the Murdoch press perceived
the New Zealand prime minister as confrontational, and called her 'hostile'

PRIANKA SRINIVASAN
| Twitter @iamprianka

MELBOURNE - Being part of Pacific media is amazing. So many talented, supportive journalists, doing great work for the love of a region so often under-resourced by world press

But I've noticed this love can sometimes spoil into an awful territorialism. And I want to talk about it.

Continue reading "And remember - it's not always about China" »


Can the Pacific Forum learn from ASEAN?

Questions remain about whether the Pacific Islands Forum can adapt mechanisms from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to manage the heightened attention that comes with big power competition

A beach pinterest

ANNA POWLES & JOANNE WALLIS
| East Asia Forum | Edited

CANBERRA - In the recently agreed 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, and before that the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, the Pacific Islands Forum is seeking to both define the challenges facing the region and to identify solutions.

Southeast Asia has long been the object of great power rivalry, but ASEAN has, despite criticism, acted as a fulcrum around which big power jostling is stabilised.

Continue reading "Can the Pacific Forum learn from ASEAN?" »


Promote unity, Sogavare tells broadcaster

“We struggle to hold this country together,” Sogavare said, stating that SIBC had been broadcasting news based on misinformation and deliberate lies that had caused anxiety in the public

SIBC newsroom
The newsro/om at Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

PITA LIGAIULA
| Island Sun - Pacnews

SUVA, FIJI - Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare has accused the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) of deviating from its purpose of uniting the country.

Responding to a question in the Solomons parliament, Sogavare said SIBC is a statutory body and service provider that continues to receive funding from the government.

Continue reading "Promote unity, Sogavare tells broadcaster" »


Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture

In September 1974, Déwé Gorodé and Susanna Ounei were arrested for protesting against ceremonies that commemorated the colonisation of New Caledonia. It was the first of three stints in jail, and in prison she wrote poetry and joined other young people to reflect on the role of women in the independence movement

Déwé Gorodé  Melbourne  1987
Déwé Gorodé during a visit to Melbourne in August 1987. The text on the whiteboard reads:
"My country is Kanaky" in her language Paicȋ (The Age).

Yesterday before they landed
in our history
of roots recited
of origins memorised
who you were exactly
what your place was
in the world of our people

It’s up to you, my mother,
it’s up to you, my sister
to try and find out….

Millenia’ by Déwé Gorodé, written in Camp Est prison, 1974

Continue reading "Déwé Gorodé: champion of Oceanic culture" »


The day W Papua was stolen from its people

The only appropriate and adequate justice left for Papuans is to be given back their sovereignty. This is the only way to have decades of violence against them reconciled

KOGOYA UNFAIR-FWP

YAMIN KOGOYA | Extract

Link here to Yamin’s complete article in Asia Pacific Report

BRISBANE - Sixty years ago today — on 15 August 1962 — the fate of the newly born nation-state of West Papua was stolen by men in New York.

The infamous event is known as The New Agreement, a deal between the Netherlands and Indonesia over West Papua’s sovereignty.

Continue reading "The day W Papua was stolen from its people" »


The Pacific Visa quotas need to be strategic

Ten countries should be considered for quotas: PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste & Vanuatu (currently very limited access to Australia); Kiribati, Tuvalu & Nauru (climate-affected atolls); Fiji, Samoa & Tonga (good access to Australia via New Zealand) 

Australian Visa

STEPHEN HOWES
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited extracts

CANBERRA - Australian foreign minister Penny Wong was putting it mildly when she noted “a positive response” to the new Labor government’s confirmation it would introduce a new permanent residency visa category for the Pacific.

Under the Pacific Engagement Visa scheme commencing in July 2023, each year 3,000 visas will be issued annually via a lottery with country-specific quotas.

Continue reading "The Pacific Visa quotas need to be strategic" »


The US is sick: Time to think for ourselves

Australia should be encouraging Pacific Islands nations to join it in forming a regional bloc that thinks for itself, makes its own rules and sees to its own future

Wake-up-america
This World War I propaganda poster has new meaning as the US faces threats at home and abroad

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Jeffrey Sachs speaks a lot of sense but, as he says, no one wants to listen to him.

There are a lot of people like Sachs who people go out of their way to ignore. Among them are climate scientists and epidemiologists.

Continue reading "The US is sick: Time to think for ourselves" »


Smiles in Suva: but the map ahead is unclear

The Pacific Islands Forum was happy to welcome rookie prime minister Anthony Albanese, but his attempt to brag about Australia’s ‘influence’ in the Pacific was seen as unwanted political game-playing

Forum - Albanese (William West)
Anthony Albanese goes for the selfie money shot but the rookie Australian prime minister has a bit to learn about the practice of diplomacy

TESS NEWTON CAIN & STEFAN ARMBRUSTER
| DevPolicy Blog

BRISBANE - Last week’s meeting of leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was keenly anticipated and came at a critical juncture for the region.

It was the first in-person meeting since Tuvalu in 2019. Since then, a lot has happened.

Continue reading "Smiles in Suva: but the map ahead is unclear" »


Pacific uni strife continues as funds dry up

"University of South Pacific is only one of two regional universities in the world, and arguably one of the few tangible outcomes of Pacific regional integration” - Professor Albert Schram

USP dale pana
Solomon Islands student Dale Pala wants regional governments to sort out the USP mess  - 'When they come here students say we are one people, one ocean’

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It’s been a while since this blog touched upon happenings at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

The deportation of vice-chancellor Professor Sal Ahluwalia and his wife Sandra Price in February last year, and the subsequent withdrawal of Fiji’s funding from the regional university, have kept the issue alive.

Continue reading "Pacific uni strife continues as funds dry up" »


We're back in the Pacific big time, says the US

“We will embark on a new chapter in our partnership, a chapter with increased American presence, where we commit to work with you in the short and long term to take on the most pressing issues that you face"

US vice-president Kamala Harris addresses Pacific Forum leaders (Sam Sachdeva  Newsroom RNZ)
US vice-president Kamala Harris addresses Pacific Forum leaders yesterday (Sam Sachdeva,  Newsroom RNZ)

NEWS DESK
| Radio New Zealand Pacific | Edited

AUCKLAND - United States vice-president Kamala Harris has assured Pacific Islands Forum leaders who are meeting in Suva that the US will “significantly deepen” its engagement in the region.

Harris virtually joined the regional leaders to announce half a dozen new commitments including establishing embassies in Kiribati and Tonga, tripling funding for economic development and ocean resilience and the appointing the first-ever US envoy to the Forum.

Continue reading "We're back in the Pacific big time, says the US" »


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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