Showing posts with label Fiji-China relations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiji-China relations. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fiji and China Ink M.o.U On Defense Cooperation & Technical Assistance.

Source: MoI

Fiji's Minister for Defence, Jonetani Cokanasiga and PLA Ltd, General  Wang (MoI)
The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) today achieved another milestone following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for closer cooperation and technical assistance.

The MOU was signed this morning by Lieutenant General Wang of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Fijian Minister for Defence Joketani Cokanasiga at Sofitel Resort and Spa in Nadi. In inking the milestone breakthrough between the two countries, Minister Cokanasiga highlighted the role of China in Fiji’s development. “The assistance is indicative of the relationship between our two countries,” he told Lt. Gen Wang.

“We have seen cooperation in the various sectors of our economy including socio and economic assistance which have been rendered towards Fiji and we are grateful to have a friend like the Peoples Republic.”
The signing also strengthens the existing defense MOU that was signed in 2011 between the two countries.

Minister Cokanasiga also briefed the delegation on the bold step taken by the two countries in building strong allies. Currently, two Chinese police officers are on attachment with the Fiji Police Force assisting local police officers in their daily duties.

(L-R) left is PS Defence Mr Osea Cawaru, Minister Cokanasiga, Mohammed Aziz, Major Sila Balawa and Captain Duaibe (MoI)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pacific Institute of Public Policy Debates On Geopolitics (Edited)


The audio of the Radio Australia interview (posted below):

Radio Australia Pacific Beat news article titled: "Call For Pacific Neutrality In Naval Build up" included an interview with former Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister, Kaliopate Tavola, whose comments in the interview were framed as, the current consensus. That perception artificially generated by Radio Australia, is simply erroneous.

This article, did not point out that, the comments by Tavola, was actually a position advocated in a debate organized by the Pacific Insitute of Public Policy (PiPP), located in Vanuatu. Nor was it addressed in the interview that, Tavola was not speaking on behalf of any Pacific Government and that Tavola's opinion was his own and will not, should not reflect the official position/pending position of any Government.

The debate in its entirety has not been made public by PiPP (as yet) and it would be one dimensional, to cast an opinion, on what direction the discussion took place.

The PiPP Pacific Debate webpage, featured the participants of the debate and their biodata:
  • Senator Peter Christian (Federated States of Micronesia)
  • Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa)
  • Major General (ret’d) Jerry Singirok (Papua New Guinea)
  • Kaliopate Tavola (Fiji)
Also, the Radio Australia article did not identify that, Tavola (nor did he say)was affiliated with PiPP as a Director. The biodata, also did not mention, that Tavola was a member of the SDL administration headed by Laisenia Qarase; who was reported to have, requested Australia troops to intervene in Fiji, prior to November 5th 2006 change of Government.

Further and most importantly, there was no attempt by Tavola to point out that AusAID is the majority funder of  the Institution, coloring PiPP"s ability and the public's perception, that PiPP is an independent 'think tank' in the Pacific region.

In addition, it can not be glossed over or outright dismissed, that the discourse of public policy in the Pacific, pursued by PiPP, (more so when advocating a geopolitical policy stance) is overly contaminated with an Australian agenda.

This same, top-down agenda that gave the Pacific region the concept of a Pacific union and lost traction due to maverick and independent minded political leaders from Melanesia, following Fiji's lead.

Pacific Union was to become a spin off from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), in-lieu of a regional Government subsequent to a adaption of regional wide currency and accompanying Free Trade blocs.

It also has been documented that, Australia Government had revoked aid from an East-Timor Non-Government Organization (NGO) that called for the Australian Government to abide by International Law, with regards to the negotiations to the natural resources within its maritime boundaries.

It's not beyond reason, to view the similar standard operating procedures in the context of PiPP, capitulating to the talking points, generated from Canberra and widely distributed by the same Australian media.

The excerpt of NGO article:

Australia Aid should support Timor-Leste,
not Australia's political interests

For immediate releaseContact: Santina Soares or Alex Grainger
6 October 2005Tel. +670 3325013,  email:
La’o Hamutuk condemned the recent decision by the Australian government to revoke an AusAID commitment to a Timor-Leste non-governmental organization (NGO), because the NGO, Forum Tau Matan (FTM), expressed political views Australia disagrees with.
“This arbitrary, punitive action belies AusAID’s mission to support Timor-Leste’s economic and legal development and contradicts the right to free speech, protected in both Australia and Timor-Leste,” said Santina Soares of La’o Hamutuk, a Timor-Leste NGO.
“La’o Hamutuk calls on Australian citizens and government officials to demand that their government administer their aid program without political interference,” said Soares. “Grants should be awarded according to need and merit, not based on the public statements of the project’s manager. We urge AusAID to publicly assure current and potential grant recipients in Timor-Leste that they can exercise freedom of speech without being punished.”
“AusAID states that major aim of its aid to Timor-Leste is to build a legal and judicial system which supports law and order. Australia’s refusal to follow international legal principles in the Timor Sea negotiations is a mockery of law and order,” said Santina Soares. “Their theft of Timor-Leste’s rightful maritime petroleum resources, including more than one billion U.S. dollars from the Laminaria-Corallina oil field, makes it impossible for Timor-Leste to deliver basic services to its people and is far larger than the US$300 million AusAID has contributed since 1999.”
AusAID's website says another goal of their support is to bolster the government’s ability to budget for and deliver basic services. AusAID also claims to support a police service with full respect for human rights and to build capacity of oversight institutions in the justice sector. Forum Tau Matan shares these goals.

Background (link to Chronology of relevant events and documents)
Last December, AusAID promised an A$65,000 human rights grant to a prison monitoring and legal rights project administered by Forum Tau Matan (FTM), an East Timorese NGO. The award was delayed due to logistical problems within the Australian bureaucracy. In the interim, Canberra learned that FTM had joined eight other NGOs the previous September to ask Australia to respect Timor-Leste’s sovereignty and negotiate a fair and legal maritime boundary.
On 7 June 2005, AusAID informed FTM director Joao Pequino that the money would not be forthcoming because “we have been reviewing the ways in which we engage with NGOs in different sectors.” At the end of July, AusAID’s Counsellor (Development Cooperation) informed FTM that the real reason the grant was cancelled was that FTM had signed the press release “East Timor Civil Society demands a Fair Resolution of Maritime Boundaries.” AusAID has since paid FTM about 10% of the grant amount in compensation for AusAID deciding to break its commitment.
In the past, FTM has received support from  the United Nations (UNMISET Human Rights Unit), Ireland Aid, and Caritas Australia.
AusAID is currently soliciting applicants for this year’s Human Rights Small Grants. The application deadline is 7 October 2005.
La’o Hamutuk, the East Timor Institute for Reconstruction Monitoring and Analysis, was founded in 2000 to research, educate and advocate regarding international institutions in East Timor, including foreign aid programs. To maintain its objectivity and ability to speak out, La’o Hamutuk does not accept funding from AusAID or the other institutions it monitors.
On 6 October 2005, La'o Hamutuk and FTM held a press conference at the NGO Forum in Dili to release the above information. L-R: Elias Barros (FTM Prison Monitoring Project), Santina Soares (La'o Hamutuk), Joao Pequino (FTM Executive Director)

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