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Pacific Islands links: Vanuatu base talk, PNG unplugged, medals, and more

Links and stories from around the Pacific by The Interpreter team.

Port Vila, Vanuatu (Photo: Enhanced Integrated Framework/Flickr)
Port Vila, Vanuatu (Photo: Enhanced Integrated Framework/Flickr)

  • It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for Australian reporting on the Pacific, following the explosive front-page headline in Fairfax media stating that Vanuatu and China were in preliminary discussions to establish a military base in the Pacific nation.
  • The allegations elicited responses from Australia and New Zealand's prime ministers and foreign ministers before Vanuatu’s foreign minister emphatically shut down the allegations. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has a different perspective on the issue.
  • The story does highlight the new geostrategic paradigm in the Pacific of real (or perceived) competition from China. To read more about contemporary geostrategic challenges in the Pacific, see my colleague Greg Colton’s recently released Lowy Institute Analysis.
  • Meanwhile, over the weekend Prince Charles visited Vanuatu, a country that has a unique relationship with his father.
  • Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato, sits down with the ABC’s Liam Fox for an extensive interview about ongoing recovery efforts after the recent earthquakes in PNG, and, of course, about China.
  • Eric Tlozek discusses how Australia is working to help make Manus Island a tourist destination.
  • Michelle Nayahamui Rooney discusses how to move forward on the thorny issue of female political representation in PNG.
  • Looking further ahead, PNG’s Prime Minister O’Neill has backtracked on previous statements, saying that the PNG Parliament will endorse any outcome in the Bougainville independence referendum. 
  • On a more cheerful note, the Pacific is making itself heard at the Commonwealth Games, with Vanuatu, Cook Islands, and Solomon Islands athletes all securing the first medals for their countries in the history of the games.


Pacific Research Program

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