Pacific Islands Forum

Nauru Finance Minister highlights impacts of US-China trade tensions on Pacific

This was highlighted by Nauru’s Finance Minister and Chair of the 2019 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM), David Adeang during the meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji Thursday.

Speaking during his opening address, Adeang told economic and forum ministers from the region that their meeting was held during a critical time when the global economy continued to face strong headwinds by the heightened intensity in the US-China trade tensions and the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.

Call for Forum leaders to take a stand on Aust treatment of refugees

Nauru, which is home to an Australian immigration detention centre, is hosting this year's leaders' summit, which will get under way on September 1.

Amnesty International has co-signed a joint open letter representing a coalition of 84 NGOs, which addresses Forum leaders and observers about conditions for refugees on Nauru, and also PNG's Manus Island.

Amnesty's Pacific researcher, Roshika Deo, said the system is clearly broken if children on Nauru are considering self-harm.

Nauru to receive assistance from Taiwan funding to PIF

On Wednesday in Suva, Taiwan's representative of the Trade Mission to Fiji, Herman Chiu, presented the forum with a cheque as part of his government's annual regional assistance.

The forum's deputy secretary general, Cristelle Pratt, said the assistance would support an initiative to build the capacity of the forum's smaller island states.

The small island states to receive this assistance are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu.

Outgoing Forum chair wants Pacific speaking with one voice

Samoa takes over the chairmanship of the Forum at the 48th Forum summit in Apia early next month.

But Mr Christian will still be an integral part of the organisation, becoming one of the Forum Troika Leaders, made up of past, present and incoming Forum chairs.

At a recent meeting with the Forum secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor, Mr Christian spoke of the socio-economic and related development issues facing the region.

A critical matter for him is air transport, which has long been seen as a barrier to island nations' attempts to strengthen their economies.

Forging Forum foreign policy difficult - academic

To counter new risks facing the Pacific, the ministers discussed seeking a new collective approach to security in the region.

Anna Powles of the Massey Centre for Defence and Security Studies said common ground might be found on climate change, but this would be more difficult in matters like the Papua issue on which the Forum was divided.

Dr Powles also said new ways needed to be found to deal with transnational crime, but she said this also raised questions.

People’s Republic of China continues to support the Pacific Islands Forum

The money was handed over to Forum’s Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor last week.

During the handover, the SG thanked China for their ongoing support through the fund and strong relationship between China and Pacific.

“I’d particularly like to thank you for the ongoing support to the Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI China) office in Beijing. The trade relationships we have with China are very important and the work of this office continues to help in their development,” she said.

Forum welcomes China's "Maritime Silk Road"

Proposed by Xi Jinping the development strategy focuses on connectivity and cooperation between China and countries primarily in Europe and Asia.

It has two components a land based "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "Maritime Silk Road".

Forum expansion unlocks new questions

RNZ reports the Forum was set up in 1971 to counter the influence of the major colonial powers, but with French Polynesia and New Caledonia added at this year's summit, France has effectively become a member of the body.

This raises questions about whether other territories in the region, such as Tokelau, American Samoa or Guam should now be included.

The director of the Pasifika Centre at Massey University, Malakai Koloamatangi, said the move had opened a lot of avenues that had seemed closed in the past.

Forum urged to act decisively on West Papua

RNZ reports for years Papuans have claimed they have been denied basic rights, particularly self-determination, and are constantly subject to Indonesian state oppression.

Demographic change in the region has also left Papuans fast becoming a minority, dominated by Indonesian culture, and has added urgency to the latest call by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) for help from the Pacific Islands Forum.

New book says Australia and NZ need new approach to Forum

'The New Pacific Diplomacy', published by the Australian National University, has contributions from a range of academics, journalists, political leaders and other stakeholders.

An editor, Associate Professor Sandra Tarte says the Pacific Islands Forum will have to adapt, and Australia and New Zealand may have to tone down their influence.