Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Pacific links: UK diplomacy, China–Vanuatu relations, and more

Links and updates from across the Pacific islands.

Port Vila waterfront, Vanuatu. (Photo: Geof Wilson/flickr)
Port Vila waterfront, Vanuatu. (Photo: Geof Wilson/flickr)

  • China’s Ambassador to Vanuatu, Liu Quan, has written for the Vanuatu Daily Post, declaring that “China has nothing to hide” and addressing concerns regarding China’s concessional loan to Vanuatu. He praises the friendship and development achievements of the two nations, and alludes to controversy surrounding China’s alleged plan to build a military base in Vanuatu as “rumours and speculations [that] will never prevent China–Vanuatu relations from moving forward”.
  • Britain has announced a diplomatic expansion in the Pacific, with new posts to open in Samoa, Tonga, and the re-opening of the High Commission in Vanuatu. Here at The Interpreter, Cleo Paskal asks if the new diplomatic posts might be a game changer given recent concerns that the region is drifting towards China. At Incline, Tess Newton Cain and Anna Powles examine what the announcement means for security, diplomacy, and regionalism.
  • Vanuatu’s Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu has spoken at the launch of a campaign calling for a climate damages tax on oil companies and high-emissions nations to pay for the loss and damage experienced globally by the effects of climate change. Reganvanu said, “Vanuatu produces 0.0016% of world climate emissions and yet is disproportionately feeling the negative effects. We just can’t afford what’s happening in our country.”
  • In Papua New Guinea, an HIV advocacy body is warning that critical shortages of anti-retroviral medication could lead to deaths.
  • At The Guardian, a striking new photo essay looks at the lives of asylum seekers and locals on Manus Island.
  • A joint statement from Solomons Islands Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela and Malcolm Turnbull this week confirmed that Solomon Islands and Australia will be linked by a new submarine telecommunications cable by the end of 2019, in a project majority-funded by Australia and also linking to PNG.
  • Fiji has launched its first international green bond on the London Stock Exchange. Proceeds from the bond will go towards natural resource management, renewables, water and energy efficiency, clean and resilient transport, and waste-water management. The video below, released by the International Finance Corporation when the bond was first announced in November last year, gives a good overview on how the green bond works and what it will be used for.

Pacific Research Program

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