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Jacinda Ardern questions motive for China-Solomons security pact

Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister, has spoken of Beijing’s “growing assertiveness” in the Pacific region as she challenged the motive for a security pact between Solomon Islands and Beijing. Australia, New Zealand and the U.S are concerned the Solomons pact could allow China to establish a military base within 2,000km of Australia’s east coast. The text permits China...

Japan cabinet secretary says Solomon Islands-China pact may have impact on region

China's security agreement with the Solomon Islands may affect security for the region and is a probable topic for discussions between the leaders of Japan and New Zealand on Thursday, Japan's chief cabinet secretary said. The security pact is a major inroad for China in the resource-rich Pacific, which Australia and New Zealand have for decades seen as their "backyard,"...

A decade of Solomons blunders rolled out the red carpet for Xi Jinping

By Kevin Rudd First, Australia must fully redress the punitive Pacific aid cuts imposed since 2013. Morrison’s current strategy is to deny these cuts even exist. But the numbers don’t lie: US$250 million of cumulative cuts between 2013 and 2020. Morrison even boasted of foreign aid in 2017, “we’ve stripped it right back, billions of dollars”. Despite his protestations,...

FIjiana Drua, NSW Waratahs confirm sides for Super W Grand Final

The Fijian Drua and NSW Waratahs have confirmed their sides for the Super W Grand Final. The match will be played as part of Super Round on Saturday 23 April, with the Fijiana Drua aiming to finish the season unbeaten after their dominant victory over the defending champions on the Gold Coast. They have made several changes to the side that...

‘We can’t stop talking about them’: Fijian Drua revolutionise women’s rugby in Australia

When Captain Cook spent time in Fiji in 1774, he and his crew were astounded by the “drua” – double-hulled boats that were then some of the most advanced sea vessels in the world. Elegant in their simplicity, they were created by binding together buabua trees, not with nails but by “magimagi”, or coconut fibres. Over time, this shipbuilding genius...

Australian Defence Minister Dutton warns China will expand its presence in Pacific after Solomon Islands pact

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton is warning China will not waste any time expanding its presence in the South Pacific, after signing its controversial security pact with Solomon Islands. The deal between the governments in Beijing and Honiara has sent shock waves across the Pacific, with fears the move will allow China to base military assets in the region. Prime Minister...

Australia must ‘change the way it talks’ to Pacific Islands

Melanesian News Network Editor Dorothy Wickham says Australia must start “changing the way it talks” to the Pacific Islands. It comes as Chinese ships and aircraft will arrive in the Solomon Islands within four weeks, following the signing of a security pact between the two nations. “Australia must change its narrative in the way it addresses, not only the Solomon Islands,...

FSM President Panuelo announces proposed Compact of Free Association package

Federated States of Micronesia President, David Panuelo, has concluded in depth discussions with U.S Special Presidential envoy for Compact negotiations, Joseph Yun and Jake Sullivan, the U.S National Security advisor. During the talks, President Panuelo informed the two U.S high level officials that the FSM is requesting an economic assistance package to be submitted by FSM’s Compact Chief Negotiator Leo...

No caretaker government in PNG: Barker

There is no provision in law or in the Constitution for a caretaker government to be formed after Parliament is dissolved for a general election, Institute of National Affairs executive director Paul Barker says. “The ruling Government can continue to hold Parliament sessions and cabinet meetings until the return of writs (on 29 July for general election),” he said. Barker was...

PNG PM Marape tables report on UBS loan inquiry in Parliament

The Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) Australia overcharged the PNG Government by AUD$175 million (about K464 million) which must be reimbursed to the State, it has been revealed. Prime Minister James Marape revealed this in Parliament Wednesday when tabling the Commission of Inquiry report on the UBS K3 billion (US$1.3 billion) loan in 2014. Marape said the inquiry found that the...

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