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Pacific links: Marape takes the reins, showing up to step up, more

Links and stories from the Pacific Islands region.

Swearing in: James Marape wins the top job in PNG (Photo: Vanessa Kerton via Getty)
Swearing in: James Marape wins the top job in PNG (Photo: Vanessa Kerton via Getty)

  • Papua New Guinea has a new Prime Minister. International coverage from the ABC highlights James Marape’s first speech, where he declared he wants PNG to become “the richest black Christian nation” in the world. The Australian notes that Australian PM Scott Morrison was one of the first world leaders to call and offer congratulations. The Australian Financial Review reports that the ascent of Marape may lessen the likelihood of prosecutions over any wrongdoing over a controversial loan. Radio New Zealand reports on Marape’s call for unity after the change.
  • Here is Marape in profile.
  • He is expected to reveal the membership of his new cabinet this week and give a major speech ahead of tonight’s State of Origin rugby league game. Marape says his cabinet will fairly represent regions and parties within his coalition government.
  • Marape has also signalled a move away from traditional donors to seek economic partnerships with a number of nations including those of Southeast Asia.
  • Meanwhile in Australia, Pacific leaders have congratulated Scott Morrison on his surprise election, and have also urged him to act on climate change.
  • James Cox discusses the next steps for the Pacific “step up” of the Australian government.
  • Denghua Zheng, Diego Leiva and Melodie Ruwet compare the impact of the Chinese aid program in the Pacific Islands with the one in the Caribbean. Same action, different perception.
  • Despite high expectations, climate change hasn’t featured in talks during the visit of the Leaders of the Compact States (Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia) to the White House.
  • But following the meeting with Donald Trump, the US has announced a US$1.2 million grant for Palau.
  • Rod McGuirk reports on a statement made by a top US official, urging Pacific Islands countries to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
  • The French parliament issued a much-awaited admission in a bill reforming the status of a group of 118 islands in the South Pacific, with MPs saying the change should make it easier for the local population to request compensation for cancer and other illnesses linked to radioactivity from the 193 nuclear testing between 1966 and 1996.

Pacific Research Program

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