As the Morrison Government has sat on its arse for eight months knowing this was coming, we are watching the formation of China’s Pacific Axis in real-time:
The Solomon Islands opposition says Chinese security personnel could soon outnumber Australian peacekeepers in the country, warning that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is likely to install a “strongarm” force to cement his hold on power.
Prominent Solomon Islands opposition MP Peter Kenilorea Jnr said Mr Sogavare’s “insane, unhinged” claim this week that Australia had threatened to invade the country had set the scene for the rapid deployment of Chinese “boots on the ground”.
…Mr Kenilorea said the comments, and Mr Sogavare’s suggestion that Australia had failed to arrive soon enough to quell last year’s violent protests in Honiara, were aimed at undermining Australia’s long-term security partnership with Solomon Islands.
“His design is obviously to minimise Australia’s role here and promote China’s role, to overtake, literally, the partnership we have had with Australia including the (security) treaty,” he told The Australian.
“The idea that he is putting forward is ‘We asked Australia, but they took time to arrive and Chinatown was already gone’. For me that implies there will be (Chinese) boots on the ground before things actually happen.”
Australia currently has 120 Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police in Honiara, where they will remain until late 2023 to help local police to maintain order.
But Mr Kenilorea said Mr Sogavare would need Chinese security personnel on the ground if he pushed ahead with his proposed delay to national elections, from May next year until some time in 2024.
“The idea of delaying the election is so unpopular here, but if the majority of the government still wants to do that, it will need some strongarm support to ensure this will carry without any other disturbances or unrest,” he said.
The Solomons are on the verge of becoming a Chinese mini-me autocracy. Once Chinese troops are on the ground, it becomes a whole new ballgame. Doing anything to the Sogavare regime triggers the need for more Chinese troops and effectively going to war with China.
This is the extent of the Morrison Pacific failure laid bare. We have known about this since August last year yet the truth was buried and nothing was done thanks to Morrison’s usual policy unprocess: bury the truth, do nothing, panic and deflect responsibility at the last minute.
And here we are – outsmarted, outflanked, outplayed- literally policing the rollout of our own demise.
Washington is not going to escalate unless or until a Chinese naval base takes any meaningful shape. Canberra is a roo in the headlights.
In the meantime, Beijing has a free hand to militarise our own backyard against us without so much as firing a shot.
Perhaps we should try kicking a footy at the PLA:
Papua New Guinea has launched a bid to join the NRL as the competition’s 18th team in the next broadcast cycle, receiving the backing of the country’s prime minister.
As the NRL awaits the introduction of the Dolphins as the 17th team next year, Papua New Guinea has put its hand up for the licence of the 18th club.
Rugby league powerbrokers want to make the NRL an 18-team competition at some point in the future, but it’s hard to envisage that happening before the upcoming broadcast agreement ends after the 2027 season.
The day has come when the failure of Australian national interest leadership has cost us dearly.