In the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) climate change is seen as an existential threat. ‘Existential’ in the sense that life for the Pacific islanders is embedded in community and place. Shifting to higher ground somewhere else is not a solution. (See Geoff Henderson’s excellent guest post Climate refugees in the Central Pacific -the Republic of Kiribati)
To put the best construction on what happened, Pacific leaders and Australia agreed to disagree about action on climate change.
PIF chair, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, said to Australian PM Scott Morrison:
“You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu.”
Continue reading Australia’s climate credibility shredded in Pacific ‘step up’ disaster
We are all going to be thinking more about China for the rest of our lives, for better or for worse. Apart from trade we were most recently startled by the notion that China may be about to build a military base in Vanuatu. Fairfax announced that China eyes Vanuatu military base in plan with global ramifications. A day later we had Chinese military base in Pacific would be of ‘great concern’, Turnbull tells Vanuatu. Followed rapidly by denials by China and Vanuatu, both of which were a bit cranky over the suggestion.
However, China is building a cruise ship terminal near a new international airport it is funding, together with a new official residence for Prime Minister Charlot Salwai as well as other government buildings. Then there was a 1000-seat convention centre, a major sports stadium, and a $14 million school that will be reportedly the biggest education facility in the South Pacific. Early last year, Beijing donated 14 military vehicles to Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is becoming vulnerable to the “debt-trap strategy” that has left a number of countries swimming in debt Continue reading China matters: Vanuatu