US rolls out the red carpet for Pacific Islands amid China inroads

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday rolled out the red carpet for Pacific Island leaders in the face of rising Chinese influence in the region and said it expected a united front, despite friction with one nation – the Solomon Islands. In a first-of-a-kind summit in Washington, the United States promised greater aid […]

Australia climate change failings violated indigenous rights: UN committee

GENEVA – Australia violated the rights of indigenous people by failing to adequately protect them against the effects of climate change, a United Nations watchdog has ruled, ordering Canberra to pay compensation. In a ground-breaking decision, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled in favour of indigenous Torres Islanders who had filed a complaint against Australia […]

Washington should focus on climate change for Pacific islands: Leaders

SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Washington should accept Pacific island priorities for the region, making climate change – not superpower competition – the most urgent security task, the region’s leaders said in Hawaii, ahead of a meeting with US President Joe Biden this month. “The sentiment shared by Pacific island leaders is that they are hopeful that […]

‘Very strong’ Typhoon Muifa approaches Japan southern islands

TOKYO – Typhoon Muifa approached Japan’s southern islands on Sunday, prompting officials to issue a warning for locals to seek shelter from the “violent waves and winds” before it made landfall. According to Japan Meteorological Agency, Muifa is expected to maintain its strength and hit Ishigaki island, near Taiwan, on Monday before heading north toward […]

Australia offers to fund elections in Solomon Islands to avoid delay

CANBERRA – Australia has offered to fund elections in the Solomon Islands after the Pacific nation’s prime minister introduced legislation to delay the vote until 2024, arguing his country couldn’t afford to hold both the election and the 2023 Pacific Games. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the […]

6.1-magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia’s Sumatra island

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island, the third tremor to rattle the area since early Monday (Aug 29), according to the country’s geophysics agency. Indonesia’s meteorology and geophysics agency (BMKG) recorded the shallow quake off the Mentawai islands, off Sumatra’s west coast just before 10.30am and said […]

Distribution of Chinese funds by Solomon Islands PM to lawmakers raises questions

SYDNEY (REUTERS) – The Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s office distributed Chinese government money to 39 out of 50 members of Parliament twice last year, a budget committee was told, prompting criticism the payments were politically motivated. Prime Minister Manesseh Sogavare, who switched the islands’ diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019, survived a vote […]

Solomon Islands threatens to ban journalists after China reports

HONIARA (BLOOMBERG) – The Solomon Islands government threatened to ban “disrespectful and demeaning” journalists from entering in response to an Australian documentary that alleged widespread Beijing influence in the Pacific country. A spokesman for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare accused the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) of promoting “racism and racial stereotyping” in a lengthy statement published on […]

Japan urges Russia not to hold military drills around disputed islands

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japan urged Russia to exclude areas around disputed northern islands from military drills Moscow is planning to conduct in the country’s Far East from late August, a Japanese government spokesperson said on Thursday (July 28). Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands that Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a territorial […]

Australia PM ‘confident’ no China navy base planned for Solomons

CANBERRA (BLOOMBERG) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he is “very confident” there won’t be a Chinese military base built in the Solomon Islands, after meeting with Solomons’ leader Manasseh Sogavare. Albanese and Prime Minister Sogavare embraced warmly ahead of discussions on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji on Wednesday (July […]

Solomon Islands PM meets Australian, NZ leaders over China pact

SUVA, Fiji (REUTERS, AFP) – The Solomon Islands prime minister met counterparts from Australia and New Zealand for the first time on Wednesday (July 13) since striking a security pact with China that sparked concern among US allies over Beijing’s military ambitions in the Pacific islands. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare met Australian Prime Minister Anthony […]