Fiji is rethinking its friends

Briefly: Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said yesterday (Wednesday) he’s reconsidering his country’s long-standing security arrangements with China.

Fiji’s partnership with China kicked off in 2011 under Rabuka’s predecessor, who had initially taken power in a 2006 coup. Among other things, the arrangement offers training in China for Fijian police officers.

But Rabuka (a two-time coup leader himself) is now asking, “if our systems and our values differ, what cooperation can we get from them?”

Intrigue’s take: A year since China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands:

  • 🇳🇿 New Zealand is now finalising a defence agreement with Fiji
  • 🇺🇸 The US is inking or renewing pacts with PNG, Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands, opening new embassies in Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, and new bases in the nearby Philippines, and
  • 🇦🇺 Australia is finalising security pacts with PNG and Vanuatu

By diplomacy’s standards, this is lightning fast. But folks in the Pacific have increasingly bristled at being treated like a geopolitical football. So yes, speed and scale is key. So is sensitivity.

Also worth noting:

  • China has previously said the security agreements benefit Fiji, and it hopes to continue the collaboration.
  • Rabuka won a tense election in December, ending his predecessor’s 16 years in office.
Latest Author Articles
Western funding for Ukraine under pressure as the war approaches its third calendar year 

The White House warned in a letter to Congress yesterday (Monday) that military and economic assistance to Ukraine will run out by the end of the year without additional funding. Failure to allocate new money would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield”, according to budget director Shalanda Young.

5 December, 2023
Court forces Panama to shut a key copper mine

Panama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously (🇵🇦) on Tuesday that the law behind the country’s vast Cobre Panama copper mine was “unconstitutional”.

30 November, 2023
BBC report alleges COP28 host UAE used host status to source oil and gas deals

Documents leaked to the Centre for Climate Reporting suggest UAE officials have sought to leverage their COP28 host country status to push for oil and gas deals, just as the UAE kicks off the COP28 climate talks in Dubai this Thursday.

28 November, 2023
An Israel-Hamas ‘hostages-for-pause’ deal?

Hamas may soon agree to release 50-100 women and children being held as hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli, Qatari, and American officials.

21 November, 2023