The French Pacific dependency of New Caledonia will hold a second referendum on self-determination in September 2020. A meeting this month in Paris between the French government, the independence movement Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) and leaders of anti-independence parties has agreed to another vote on New Caledonia’s political status under the Noumea Accord, following the November 2018 referendum which saw an unprecedented 43 per cent vote for independence.
During his 11-14 June 2019 visit to Suva Professor Brian Schmidt, Australian National University Vice Chancellor launched Understanding Oceania, a book edited by DPA’s Stewart Firth and the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Vijay Naidu.
China’s assertive presence in Oceania has provided alternative opportunities for Pacific Island governments, is welcomed with cautious optimism by observers, and has raised concerns, especially for the metropolitan powers that have long dominated the region.
Pacific Island governments now engage with China through diplomatic partnerships, trade, aid, investments, infrastructure developments, and commerce. Beijing has posed itself as an alternative power, which is changing the regional order.