Australia is trying to establish a “Pacific Islands Regiment” to counter foreign threats

Australia and its neighbors continue to be under threat from China’s ever-increasing security in the Pacific region, seeking to establish a “Pacific Islands Regiment” to strengthen defense relations and protect regional sovereignty. is.

According to a proposal made in a parliamentary investigation, new ground forces developed within the Australian Army will carry out peacekeeping missions and intervene in the region’s “constitutional crisis” as needed.

The MP suggested that it was time for the Australian Government to strengthen its military relations with the Pacific island nations by “innovative and practical” means, including strengthening the integration of training and operations. Regiment members and their families may also be granted residence and ultimate citizenship in Australia.

However, the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Subcommittee acknowledged relevant issues such as SOFA, wages and conditions, and consideration by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As China strengthens its grip in the Pacific region through trade, debt traps and infrastructure investment under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it needs to strengthen its defense ties in the Australian Pacific Islands.

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China, Beijing – May 16, 2011: Josiah Voreke-Bainimarama Prime Minister of Fiji, we shook hands with Xi Jinping China president meet in the Great Hall, which was held in Beijing of China on May 16, 2017. (Photo by Damir Sagolj-Pool / Getty Images)

“Australia was concerned about its proximity to the Pacific Islands, its vulnerability to potential hostile invasions, and its distance from its major security allies (first the United Kingdom and later the United States).” The report said.

“In parts of the Indo-Pacific, including Southeast Asia, China’s power and influence has grown to match and in some cases exceed that of the United States.”

With the exception of Papua New Guinea, bilateral trade with China in the Pacific region Beyond That of Australia since 2013.

2019 Lowy Institute report Identifying the Pacific island nations as part of the “world’s most vulnerable countries” to debt sustainability issues and China’s “dept trap” diplomatic potential, China’s “fierce” to the region He emphasized “clear risks” in investment.

In fact, the BRI initiative has turned six Pacific governments in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu into Beijing debtors.

Australia’s Minister of International Development and South Pacific, Consetta Fieravanti Wells, criticized China in 2018 for pouring money into “useless buildings” that the island nation couldn’t afford. China replied by calling her comment “full of prejudice and prejudice.”

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Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (L) has arrived at the opening of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Apia, Samoa on September 5, 2017.
(Keniresa via Getty Images / AFP)

Security concerns in the Asia-Pacific region also increased in February 2021 after Chinese companies proposed a multi-billion dollar plan to build an industrial city in Papua New Guinea, a poor island near the northern border of Australia. A similar move was seen in Vanuatu in 2018. There, the Chinese government built a pier for commercial cruise ships, but was capable of servicing military naval vessels.

“China’s growing influence and presence in the Pacific has laid the foundation for China to rely on island nations to meet its long-term ambitions to establish military bases in the region,” foreign policy said. report..

“China is keenly aware that emerging democracy in the Pacific is short-sighted and, in some cases, prone to complete corruption, resulting in the risk of operations contrary to their best interests. I will. “

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned that Beijing plans to militarize the South Pacific and transform it into “another South China Sea.”

“We have seen reports that China is interested in reopening this radar station in Kiribati and building a naval base in the western provinces of the Solomon Islands,” he said in a 2019 Pacific Islands dialogue. Said.

Michael Schubridge, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Defense Program, said the Pacific Islands Regiment would strengthen cohesion among Pacific nations and protect them from Beijing takeovers.

“What’s fascinating for Pacific Islands states is that they’re a functional and better way to train and equip them for disaster relief and peacekeeping,” he says. Said Financial review.

Built on the Morrison government’s Pacific step-up, this study aims to strengthen relations between Pacific island nations.
Protection and surveillance, humanitarian and disaster relief, fisheries management, information gathering and sharing, environmental issues, Covid-19 pandemic.

“Because the Pacific is … our hometown, it is understandable that Australian state agencies are deeply investing in engagement and close cooperation with Pacific partners, which is reflected in the nature of the regional defense program. “It is,” the report said.