Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Pacific links: tourism, PNG unrest, more

Riots in the PNG Highlands, Vanuatu’s PM in Canberra, tourism as a growth driver, and more updates from the Pacific.

Cook Islands tourism (Photo: Roderick Eime/Flickr)
Cook Islands tourism (Photo: Roderick Eime/Flickr)

  • Riots and unrest in the Papua New Guinea Highlands this week have led to a 9-month state of emergency being declared, and more than 400 PNG Defence Force troops being sent to the area. In the past week, protestors – angered by a failed court challenge to last year’s election results – have set fire to an Air Niuguini plane, government buildings, and the home of the local governor, and ambushed two police cars. The unrest spread to neighbouring Hela Province where landowners set fire to equipment and blocked roads near the Exxon-Mobil led PNG LNG project.
  • Papua New Guinea’s Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel visited the the Lowy Institute last week, where he discussed relations with Australia, along with goals and challenges facing the PNG government. Audio and a transcript of the speech are available here.
  • Amid continuing media focus on Chinese influence in the Pacific, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai visited Canberra on Monday, a week and a half after his Solomon Islands counterpart Rick Houenipwela. Following the visit, Malcolm Turnbull announced an agreement to commence negotiations on a bilateral security treaty.
  • At DevPolicy, Matthew Dornan argues that Australia’s relationships in the Pacific should not be focused on countering the “threat” of Chinese influence in the region.
  • Landowner issues in Solomon Islands have the potential to delay the rollout of the predominantly Australian-funded $136 million submarine internet cable project, which will connect both Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
  • Australia’s intervention in the Solomon Islands / Papua New Guinea cable has prompted reports that Vanuatu, too, would seek an Australian-funded cable during Salwai’s visit to Canberra this week.
  • Eighteen years after Papua New Guinea was declared polio-free, an outbreak has been confirmed in the country’s Morobe Province.
  • A new report from the Asian Development Bank looks at tourism as a driver of growth in Pacific island countries. Its findings show that while tourism is a rapidly expanding industry in the region, it depends on national investments to ensure its sociocultural, environmental, and financial sustainability.
  • An interesting interactive by PBS Frontline explores the climate threat to the Marshall Islands through the stories of three young residents.

Pacific Research Program

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