Pacific development partners are determined that the region has become a contested space once again.
Australia and New Zealand are recently concerned of China’s growing presence and influence in the Pacific provided the recent leak of a draft security deal between the Solomon Islands and China
These traditional ‘big brothers’ say they respect the sovereignty of individual Pacific Island states but will work with partners to ensure there is a keen understanding of the risks and threats.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta called for regional solidarity during her recent trip to the country to ensure that the needs of our people are not dismissed.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the Pacific leading its own aspirations and definitely securing its interest with the Pacific voice in mind”
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes said the Ukrainian war highlighted the potential risks of cross-border relationships.
“It does highlight the importance of countries like Fiji, like Australia, like New Zealand, countries of the Pacific to protect their sovereignty. There are countries in these part of the world who seeks to undermine our sovereignty.”
Mahuta believes that the Pacific Islands Forum plays a critical role at this time.
These regional leaders are of the belief that the Russian invasion is a wake-up call for the global community including the Pacific.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS