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Friday, 15 July 2022 00:00

The purpose of Great Powers presence in the Pacific Islands

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The United States will deepen its presence in the Pacific Islands. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris in a video speech at the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, Fiji, Wednesday (13/7) as quoted by (13/07) said that U.S. funding for the Pacific Islands would triple to $60 million dollars per year for a decade, subject to congressional approval. In a speech delivered virtually at the meeting, Kamala Harris also announced plans to open more U.S. embassies in the South Pacific. She acknowledged that in the past, Pacific Island nations might not have received enough attention from the United States. She added that now the United States wants to "significantly deepen its presence in the Pacific region". The involvement of powerful and wealthy nations is nothing new in the Pacific Islands. Poor economic growth has made countries in the region very dependent on world aid, especially countries that are super powers, such as the United States, China, Russia, and Australia. For decades, Australia has been one of the largest donors to Pacific Island countries. In the region, Australia is investing in the health, education and government sectors. Besides the United States and Australia, another country involved in the development of the Pacific Islands is China. For years, China has sought a presence in the region, involved from the construction of airport runways, highways and stadiums to education and fishing. China's presence in the Pacific Islands is increasingly in the spotlight after the controversial pact with the Solomon Islands was agreed some time ago. What is the purpose of the super power countries' involvement in development in the Pacific region? Some observers, as quoted from (08/06/2022) said that Beijing's goal of funding infrastructure projects in key strategic locations is to "allow China's military access" from the air and sea. But, other observers point out that some countries use money to gain power and influence. Meanwhile, the United States' initiative according to a number of experts, as quoted from (14/07) is a reaction to China's increasing influence in the tropical island countries. Whereas historically, the Pacific Islands region was under Western influence. The good initiatives of the great powers needn’t be disputed. Although it is not a secret, no country is fully concerned with the welfare of other countries, without any interest. Cooperation that exists between major powers, such as the United States, China and Australia with countries in the Pacific Islands needs to be supported. Most importantly, it must not damage or harm the Pacific Islands countries. In establishing cooperation with the great powers, the Pacific Island countries need to avoid being dictated to by the great powers. The sovereignty of the Pacific countries should be maintained.

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