On Liberty EP89 China’s expanse into the Pacific Islands

Pacific countries often say they do not want to be drawn into geopolitics. All have adopted a “friends to all and enemies to none” foreign policy. However, the proposed security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands shows that geopolitics is well and truly thriving.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said the Solomon Islands, a nation of about 700,000 people, was not taking sides. But the agreement has an immediate effect on every country in the region and it is very much connected, at least on the Chinese side, to geostrategic ambitions.
In Australia, security analysts watched the story unfold with a mixture of dread because of the potential blow to Canberra’s strategic interests, and vindication that years of assessments about China’s military intent in the Pacific had seemingly been confirmed overnight. In the political arena, accusations came thick and fast that the federal government had “dropped the ball” in the Pacific and that diplomacy in the region had failed.
This week’s guest Mihai Sora joins us to discuss China’s expending presence in the pacific and what effect it has on Australia. From trade, to new security measures and aid given to the Solomon Islands.
Mihai Sora is a Research Fellow in the Pacific Islands Program and Project Director of the Aus-PNG Network. Mihai has more than a decade’s experience as an Australian diplomat with postings to Solomon Islands and Indonesia, and was a Pacific Analyst at the Office of National Assessments.