• Stephen Dziedzic reports on the visit by two of Donald Trump’s top security advisers to the Pacific last week, noting that the creation of a director for Oceania & Indo-Pacific Security at the White House National Security Council (NSC) demonstrates a greater commitment by the US for re-engagement in the region.
     
  • Reflecting on the potential of greater US engagement in the region, Pacific Islands Forum Deputy Secretary Cristelle Pratt made some poignant remarks in her address at a recent CSIS conference in Nadi. She used the opportunity to remind the Trump administration of the many “faux pas” the US has made in the past, such as defining Pacific states as “fragile”, or not sharing their views on climate change.
     
  • Richard Curtain explains why it is harder for Pacific islanders to secure work in Australia, despite the labour mobility schemes established by the government.
     
  • Great story by Catherine Graue about Pete Duffy’s new Ni-Vanuatu apprentice on and off the cricket field.
     
  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced she will visit Palau, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands next week, and could stop-over in a US territory.
     
  • The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat has announced its Observer Team to monitor the National General Elections in the Solomon Islands on 3 April, a team that will be composed by current and former diplomats and politicians, such as Ratu Inoke Kubuabola of Fiji, Martin Tete (Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Vanuatu), Leonard Louma (senior civil servant, former diplomat of Papua New Guinea), and Rodrique Tiavouane (FLNKS in New Caledonia). The Australian National University will also be sending an observer mission. It is not known whether the Commonwealth will be sending a mission.
     
  • Stephen Howes comments on the illegitimacy and controversy that surrounds the sacking and replacement of the UPNG council by the Higher Education Minister.
     
  • If you work on Pacific issues and want to deepen the debate on Pacific policies, come to the Pacific Update 2019. Submissions and registration can be made freely here.
     
  • Finally, if you are interested in the role of China in the Pacific, the latest episode of the Little Red Podcast is not to be missed.

The Lowy Institute is part of the  Pacific Research Program