The Australian government said it was working to determine a damage assessment and what assistance may be required, while a tsunami warning for coastal NSW and parts of Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania followed warnings for Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island issued more than four hours after the waves began to hit Tonga.
The first to seal its frontier was the Marshall Islands. Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Palau, Micronesia, Tuvalu, Nauru, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, followed suit. Six months on, most of the world is ravaged by the coronavirus but these island nations remain virus free.
Tony Abbott turned his back and faced Europe changing the nature of the region. (ODT)
After riding the coattails of China’s boom for decades, Australian conservatives are now railing against China. They’re not just following a lead from Washington — the Liberal Party’s corporate backers are anxious to maintain Australian dominance in the South Pacific.
After letting its guard down in the Pacific, Australia has found that the superpower whose growth has helped to sustain the Australian economy is now staking its own claim to a region it perceives as its own. Australia’s resource giants have long enjoyed the best of both worlds: a vast Chinese export market and privileged access to resources in the South Pacific. But now both privileges are in jeopardy, and Australia is struggling to formulate a response.
After three decades of a China-fueled economic boom, the bust may have deep and dangerous consequences — especially for Pacific island peoples who find themselves, once again, caught in a game where no matter who wins, they lose.
Fears that China will exploit Australia’s neglectful – if not abusive – relationship with its Pacific neighbours are aired all week but the Morrison government isn’t listening. It does everything in its power to offend and alienate Pacific leaders as it clings to its ideological fixation with supporting a moribund coal industry at home.
Above all, enlisting or inspiring the support of Alan Jones, aka The Parrot, has helped the Morrison government shine a light on the unreason, the bullying, the racism and the misogyny which lie at its heart.
Moreover, ADF Chief Angus Campbell has warned in a private speech that an ascendant China could potentially occupy islands in the Pacific following a massive exodus from the region should the harmful effects of climate change continue unabated.
Yes, our total carbon (CO2) emissions is a small percentage, but per capita, we are one of the largest emitters in the world. As Australians, we pride ourselves for punching above our weight internationally. Our armed forces are admired and respected, our diplomats are influential and respected by states bigger than our own.
Surely, we can punch above our weight against climate change too. Or at the very least, not continue to fall behind the pack.
This is not progressive “green” politics. This is about national security. This is actually protecting the borders. This is about the future and longevity of Australia and our place in the south Pacific.
Remember when Abbott was called the Pivot… he cut foreign aid and went to Europe and the Middle East (ODT)
Analyst says the redeveloped naval base represents a pushback against Chinese ambitions in the region
US Vice President Mike Pence spoke about the ‘great connection’ between the US and PNG
The US, China and Australia have all been vying for influence in the Pacific
Plans to host US warships at a redeveloped naval base on Manus Island will undermine China’s plans to establish a military presence in the Pacific, says one analyst. Scott Morrison says PNG asked the US and Australia to get involved, as the countries vie for influence in the region.
Much of the world may be having its doubts about democracy. Even in the Asia Pacific’s veteran democracy Australia, a recent poll showed that a third of the population favoured an authoritarian or “strongman” type leader. But in the Muslim Malay world, it looks like democracy is here to stay.
“I pointed out that in dealing with terrorism, one has to know the causes,” Dr Mahathir told journalists after emerging from a bilateral meeting with the Australian Prime Minister. “Adding to the causes of terrorism is not going to be helpful, I pointed that out. And Australia has not made any decision, they are looking into it.”
Tukuitonga told the gathering the South Pacific countries, through climate change alone, had been taking massive losses to annual gross domestic product (GDP) – 20-30% or more — due to the effects of extreme weather events, especially cyclones.
While they are among some of the world’s poorest in dollar terms, for a bad year like 2009-10, those countries would be losing overall some $10 billion.
More figures reeled off by Dr Tukuitonga set out the pattern of relentless bad news, against which he offered some patches of light in terms of actions being taken, or which might be taken, by governments and other interests.