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Solomon Islands leader rules out Chinese military base

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The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands has ruled out a Chinese military base on the Pacific archipelago

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has confirmed he has no intentions of a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands, after signing an historic security pact with Beijing.

In an interview with The Guardian, Sogavare says a military base with Beijing would make Solomon Islands an “enemy” and “put our country and our people as targets for potential military strikes”.

Sogavare met with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum, which is taking place in Fiji.

“We are family, there are issues [but] that makes family strong.”

PRIME MINISTER Manasseh Sogavare

The meeting reportedly lasted 15 minutes, where Albanese said the pair spoke about “our common interests that we have of climate change, dealing with the challenge but also regional security issues”.

Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum gather in Fiji.

It follows Australia’s Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison opting out of talking to Sogavare because of advice from “security and intelligence agencies”.

Sogavare has previously branded threats as an “invasion” following its tightened security arrangements with China.

Placing a pulse on the Pacific

China was denied an invitation at this year’s Pacific Islands Forum. However, U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris gave a virtual address.

The Biden Administration will commit USD $600 million to support an envoy to the forum, infrastructure in local fisheries, and brining peace corps volunteers back to the region.

Harris conceded the U.S. has been missing when it comes to the Pacific but has vowed to “change that”. She says the U.S. wants to “significantly deepen our presence in the Pacific region”.

As part of its Pacific push, the U.S. will open embassies in Tonga and Kiribati. The latter is the closest Pacific island nation to the U.S.

However, Kiribati itself is not attending this week’s forum because of tensions over the secretary-general position. But opposition leaders believe China has also influenced this decision, something that Beijing denies.

TICKER NEWS spoke to Ebony Bennett from The Australia Institute, who says the U.S. is “going to re-engage strongly in the Pacific region”.

“The Prime Minister [Manasseh Sogavare] is making the point that they would ever only call on China if Australia can’t fill that security gap, and that Australia remains the security partner of choice for the Solomon Islands.”

Ebony bennett, the australia institute

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently toured the region, where he failed to reach a security and trade deal with 10 Pacific nations.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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People investing heavily in pet health

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Australian pet owners are demonstrating their unwavering commitment to their furry companions, as revealed in a recent survey by Finder.com. The survey, conducted among 1,061 respondents, highlights that 94% of pet owners are willing to spare no expense to ensure the well-being of their pets, with some prepared to spend over $10,000.

On average, Australians are willing to invest $6,219 to safeguard their pets’ health, showcasing the deep bond between humans and animals. While 6% of respondents admit they wouldn’t spend anything on vet bills before considering euthanasia, the majority prioritise their pets’ welfare.

To assist pet owners in making informed financial decisions, Finder has announced the winners of its Pet Insurance Awards for 2024. Bow Wow Meow’s Ultimate Care policy stands out for its exceptional value, offering extensive coverage at an affordable price point.

Highly commended policies include petinsurance.com.au’s Platinum Cover and Coles Pet Insurance, providing comprehensive protection for furry companions.

Investing in pet insurance can provide peace of mind, ensuring that pet owners are prepared for unforeseen medical emergencies without compromising their financial stability.

With policies tailored to various needs and budgets, pet owners can find the right coverage for their beloved animals.

Despite generational differences in spending habits, with Gen Z leading the pack in willingness to invest in pet health, one thing remains clear: Australians’ love for their pets is unwavering, exemplifying the cherished bond between humans and animals.

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ASEAN emerging as new global economic power?

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As global supply chains adapt to the pandemic and heightened US-China tensions, attention shifts to ASEAN’s emerging economies.

Could Vietnam and Indonesia lead ASEAN into becoming a third economic powerhouse alongside China and India? Professor Tim Harcourt of UTS and The Airport Economist on Ticker weighs in.

While debates on ‘deglobalisation’ persist, the question arises: is production truly shifting or merely realigning? Geopolitical uncertainties prompt businesses to diversify their supply chains away from China, a move influenced by both politics and economics. Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia emerge as preferred destinations due to their strategic advantages and growing economies.

Australia’s recent Australian ASEAN Summit highlights the potential gains from closer ASEAN ties, given its vast population of over 640 million. What collaborative opportunities lie ahead?

Professor Harcourt’s upcoming Airport Economist ASEAN series on Ticker promises deeper insights into ASEAN’s economic landscape, revealing its potential as a significant global player.

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Investors assess geopolitical risks amidst tensions

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Amidst a backdrop of geopolitical easing, investors are reassessing their risk strategies to navigate a more tranquil global landscape.

This shift coincides with markets recalibrating expectations around potential rate cuts, resulting in a downturn in stocks.

In the tech sector, all eyes are on US earnings reports this week, particularly those of industry giants whose performance often sets the tone for market sentiment.

Additionally, anticipation mounts ahead of the release of Australian CPI data, scheduled for Wednesday, which promises insights into economic health and potential monetary policy implications.

These developments underscore the need for investors to remain vigilant and adaptable in response to evolving geopolitical and economic dynamics.

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