Thursday 30 Jun 2022 | 23:15 | SYDNEY
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Solomon Islands

China-Solomon Islands pact: Reading between the lines

What we know so far about the content of the China-Solomon Islands security pact, announced in April, points to Beijing’s preoccupation with the internal protection of its “interests” in Solomon Islands. This begs closer scrutiny, particularly following Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s whirlwind

PNG and the Solomon Islands-China security agreement

Reactions to the security agreement between Solomon Islands and China were swift and relentless. Much of the rhetoric is creating needless anxieties. It demonstrates that an unwritten rule exists in the practice of Pacific diplomacy. Supposedly sovereign Pacific states must choose wisely who they do

Chinese bases in the Pacific: A reality check

There was barely concealed panic in Australia when news broke that China had struck a security agreement with Solomon Islands. What if this is really a basing deal that allows China to station military aircraft or warships permanently? Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s emphatic denial on

Fixing Australia’s failing Pacific Step-up strategy

Publicly, Australia’s Pacific Step-up aims to win friends and influence people. Behind this facade however, a core purpose is to make sure the Pacific Islands don’t embrace China, just as Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has done. This clear failure may suggest abandoning

Solomons security pact: Sogavare, China, and Australia

Labor has described Solomon Islands’ security pact with China as Australia’s biggest foreign policy failure in the Pacific since the Second World War, but this is hyperbole. Australia’s biggest foreign policy failure in the region – ever – is its failure to address (at both a national and

Solomon Islands: cops bearing gifts

The pre-Christmas announcement that Solomon Islands’ government was going to accept China’s offer of six police advisers and a swag of emergency riot equipment generated consternation in Canberra. The ABC’s Andrew Greene reported discomfit from his “defence and diplomatic” sources. The

Solomons strife demands a development re-think

As Australian personnel patrolled the streets of Honiara, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this month successfully fended off an attempt to oust him. The failed vote of no confidence came after violent anti-government protests that followed two years of tensions between Sogavare and

Solomon Islands – where world news is all local

Did you notice anything different about the news coverage of the recent unrest in Honiara? Those fast-breaking stories on Australia’s TV, radio and online networks were not presented by Australian journalists but by Solomon Islanders professionally reporting from the front lines of the riots.

Honiara as the smoke subsides

This morning the 36-hour lockdown imposed after rioting struck Honiara in Solomon Islands has lifted. The scene is a sorry one, buildings burned, debris on the main road, shops looted and exhausted police making way to work with the Australian Defence Force, which arrived last night. Unfortunately

Dark days for Honiara in the shadow of geopolitics

An uneasy calm has settled over the Solomon Islands capital Honiara after protests outside the national parliament on Wednesday calling for Prime Minister Sogavare’s resignation descended into civil unrest. A building inside the parliamentary compound and a police station were set alight amid

Pacific Step-Up needs a Covid-era reboot

Through thickly vegetated jungle paths, teams of doctors hike for hours to reach Fiji’s most remote villages. Travelling ahead of them, as reported in The Guardian recently, are packhorses carrying ice-chests filled with AstraZeneca vaccines.  Fiji is no

Long-ago battle in Solomon Islands keeps claiming lives

Solomon Islands is littered with unexploded bombs, a legacy of the Second World War as the site of one of the fiercest battles between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. Much of the population across the islands still live with unknown quantities of explosive remains left behind from the

Solomon Islands gets a lesson in Chinese diplomacy

China’s efforts to marginalise Taiwan and promote its “One China” policy has been a challenge for many countries. Some have diplomatic relations with Beijing while continuing to pursue trade and cultural links with Taiwan. The US can do this because it is a global power. This was clearly

The surprising sameness of the Solomons elections

Solomon Islands went to the polls on 3 April for their 10th general election since independence in 1978. The turnover of incumbent politicians in Solomon Islands elections is usually high, with around half of all sitting MPs losing their seats in each election. The 2014 general election, however,

The 2019 Solomon Islands election: how will women fare?

In terms of women’s representation in politics, Solomon Islands lags behind much of the world. In April, Solomon Islands will hold the first general election since the departure of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). There is one incumbent female MP. This means Solomon

Will Solomon Islands abandon Taiwan?

Over the last couple of years Taiwan has been steadily haemorrhaging diplomatic allies. Countries from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean have switched allegiance to Beijing, leaving just 17 countries maintaining formal relations with Taipei. The largest bloc of such countries is in the

The RAMSI legacy for Pacific policing

Despite the extensive coverage afforded most aspects of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), relatively little attention has been paid to the large number of Pacific Islands police who served throughout the 14-year deployment. RAMSI retained high levels of

The hidden epidemic in the shanty towns of Honiara

Diarrhoea is a common illness for more than a third of people in Honiara, the coastal capital of Solomon Islands, where informal settlements with poor sanitation and water dominate. But the risk of diarrhoeal disease increases in the annual wet season, from November to April, and escalates during

Pacific island links: Sogavare out, COP23, Manus and more

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Pacific Islands Program. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has been ousted after a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. He has said the mass resignations last week that preceded the vote were due to the reintroduction of an anti-

Resilience in the post-RAMSI era

Understanding how and when governments might intervene in failing countries is an art rather than a science. It requires detailed knowledge of the country in question, the resilience of the people and systems in relation to the emerging crisis, and the willingness of the people to accept an

Solomon Islands: Big hopes for new constitution

By Catherine Wilson, a freelance journalist and correspondent reporting on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands region Popular aspiration for a federal government in the Solomon Islands was not forefront in my mind as I sat under a tree in a squatter settlement on the edge of the capital,

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