NEWS

Academic Labels Aust PM’s Visit as ‘Unusual’

  A University of the South Pacific academic has labelled as “unusual” the four-day bilateral visit by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Head of School and Director, Politics and
16 Jan 2019 10:07
Academic Labels Aust  PM’s Visit as ‘Unusual’
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama meeting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney

 

A University of the South Pacific academic has labelled as “unusual” the four-day bilateral visit by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Head of School and Director, Politics and International Affairs Dr. Sandra Tarte said “Excluding PNG, Australian Prime Ministers generally visit the region for Pacific Islands Forum meetings not for bilateral meetings (as on this occasion)”.

The visit comes in the wake of the renewed geopolitical concerns on the part of Australia about China’s role and influence in the region.

“We saw this last year in regard to the ‘spy ship’ and the naval port allegations (which aired on the 60 Minutes Australia) It’s no coincidence that Fiji and Vanuatu have been chosen for this PM visit,” Ms Tarte said.

“But Australia has also announced its own ‘step up’ in the region, and part of this relates to increased security cooperation with the region.”

Dr Sandra Tarte.

Dr Sandra Tarte.

Regional commentators have highlighted similar sentiments that the visit is about reinforcing Australia’s commitments and reaffirming its Pacific partnerships.

Ms Tarte believes the bilateral meetings gives Fiji an opportunity to seek stronger economic relations with Australia – something Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had alluded to last year at the opening of Fiji’s Sydney Consulate and Trade Commission.

She said Mr Bainimarama may also raise the climate change issue with his Australian counterpart – “but not with any expectation that this Australian government will do anything differently”.

Mr Morrison is scheduled to meet with Mr Bainimarama when he arrives tomorrow.

He will also pay a courtesy call on His Excellency, the President of Fiji, Major General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote.

While in Fiji, PM Morrison plans to deliver a speech at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and conduct site visits to the Australian Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), Fiji National University (FNU) campus and the Blackrock project in Nadi.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedbackrosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: