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17 August 2022

Geopolitics trumps democracy

Last month, Biman Prasad, leader of Fiji’s National Federation Party, asserted that Australia and New Zealand are ignoring democratic decay within the Pacific due to a fear of pushing island countries toward China. Prasad was primarily concerned with Fiji, yet the claim could be extended to Solomon Islands.

A bill was tabled last week in …

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10 August 2022

Taiwan crisis

China has responded aggressively to a visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, by conducting several days of military exercises encircling the island. But Beijing’s missives have also been rhetorical, including several launched in Australia’s direction.

After the foreign minister, Penny …

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3 August 2022

Indonesia challenges AUKUS

Ahead of the United Nations’ tenth conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT), Indonesia has expressed concern over the use of highly enriched uranium for naval propulsion. In a leaked draft of its submission to the UN, Indonesia argued that sharing nuclear technology for military purposes contradicts the spirit and objective …

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27 July 2022

China and AUKUS

China is seeking to place pressure on Australia’s AUKUS agreement with the United States and the United Kingdom, claiming that it breaches international law. The agreement, signed in November 2021, entitles Australia to procure a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines – of either American or British design – and utilises a loophole in the Non-Proliferation …

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20 July 2022

Indonesia livestock diplomacy

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesian cattle has become a pressing concern for the Australian government. First detected in May in the provinces of Aceh and East Java, the disease has spread to twenty other provinces, including Bali. The fear is that holidaymakers returning from Bali could transmit the disease to Australian livestock, …

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13 July 2022

Pacific summit

Fiji is hosting the annual Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting this week, the first in-person summit since 2019, though not all of the eighteen member states are attending. Kiribati and the Marshall Islands are absent amid concerns that the forum had not adequately addressed the interests of Micronesian countries, which had previously threatened …

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6 July 2022

Albanese in Ukraine

Following Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to Spain for the NATO summit, and a visit to Paris to mend relations with France, he made an unannounced stop in Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky. Visits by leaders to Ukraine to demonstrate solidarity with the besieged nation have become an important feature of the war, especially …

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29 June 2022

Albanese in Europe

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s trip to Europe this week provides an opportunity to repair relations with France. Despite the distance between Paris and Canberra, France is one of Australia’s closest neighbours, as its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) emanating from New Caledonia meets Australia’s EEZ in the Coral Sea. Also, including its dependencies …

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22 June 2022

Wong’s latest Pacific trip

In a demonstration of the new Australian government’s priorities, Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week made her third trip to the Pacific in less than a month since taking office. Solomon Islands has become a pressing concern for Canberra due to the country’s recent security agreement with China, which threatens a pillar of Australian foreign …

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15 June 2022

China base in Cambodia

Last week, Cambodian and Chinese officials officially initiated the redevelopment of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base. These Chinese-funded improvements have created concern that the port will be used as a Chinese military base, giving Beijing potentially greater control over the South China Sea.

The day before the ground-breaking ceremony, Australian …

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