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Solomon Islands leader rules out Chinese military base



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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“TikTok represents two national risks to Australians”: should you delete the app?



Democracies continue to ban popular video-sharing app TikTok over national security concerns

Australia recently banned TikTok from all federal government owned devices over security concerns.

Canberra is the latest in a string of U.S.-backed allies to take action against the popular video-sharing app.

The ban centres around concerns China could use the app to trace users’ data, and undermine democratic values.

Senator James Paterson is the Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, who said TikTok poses a risk to Australians.

“They can get access to awful amount of information on your phone.

“Because it’s beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, there’s no guarantee it won’t fall into their hands,” he said.

Senator Paterson said there are “six or seven million Australians who use the app.”

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Cyber attacks are on the rise, so what is being done to combat them?



Australia experienced two of its worst cyber attacks on record last year, as the world braces for cyber warfare to rise

Ukraine has suffered a threefold growth in cyber-attacks over the past year.

Viktor Zhora is leading Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection agency, who said cyber attacks are occurring at the same time as missile strikes at the hands of Russia.

Mr Zhora said in some cases, the cyber-attacks are “supportive to kinetic effects”.

On the other side of the planet, Russian hackers were responsible for Australia’s Medibank scandal.

“This is a crime that has the potential to impact on millions of Australians and damage a significant Australian business,” said Reece Kershaw, who is the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security is James Paterson, who said Australia can learn from cyber warfare in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a lesson for the world.

“They are fighting a hybrid war, one on the ground and one online. If there is to be future conflict including in our own region, in the Indo-Pacific, it’s highly likely that the first shots in that war will occur cyber domain not in the physical world,” Senator Paterson said.

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America focused on “dominance, leadership and primacy” in China spat



Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr says the United States relationship with China is focused on dominance, leadership and primacy.

“Mind your own business” – it’s the stinging message to the West from China’s defence minister.

Li Shangfu told a security conference that China has “one of the best peace records” among major countries.

He lashed out at the so-called rules-based system. Asking – “who made the rules?”

The world is watching China amidst heightened international anxiety.

But while China’s Defence minister says Beijing’s preference is “peaceful unification” with Taiwan, he added that China will never “promise to renounce the use of force.”

Delegates from the Philippines, Vietnam, the Netherlands, the United States and Germany asked about the “apparent disconnect between China’s words and actions”.

But in some of those countries, there is growing concern about America’s increasing level of unpredictability.

Australia’s former Foreign minister Bob Carr is concerned that Canberra had mismanaged the relationship with America under successive governments. #featured #world #china

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