Following the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Retreat Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka shared his perspective on regional security and defense during an interview with ABC News.
When questioned about the idea of Pacific Island countries prioritising Australia for security and defense collaboration, Prime Minister Rabuka responded, “I have not heard that, and I want to hear the full concept of it.”
Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted the historical context of Australia and New Zealand’s role in the region, referencing the longstanding ANZAC cooperation tested in the Second World War and Vietnam.
“We’ve always known Australia and New Zealand under the ANZAC cooperation that was extended into Asia, in the Asia Pacific region,” Prime Minister Rabuka stated.
He emphasised the familiarity and tested partnership with nations that have historical ties in the region.
However, Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged the importance of not discouraging the formation of new alliances and friendships in the Pacific.
The Prime Minister said such partnerships should be built on a foundation of understanding sovereignty, encompassing not only individual nations and countries but also the broader regional context.
“We do not want to discourage people from forming new alliances and new friendships as long as they’re built on the understanding of sovereignty,” Prime Minister Rabuka remarked, underscoring the significance of respecting the autonomy of nations and the region as a whole.
As the Pacific region continues to navigate evolving geopolitical dynamics, Prime Minister Rabuka’s comments provide valuable insights into the nuanced approach towards security cooperation and the importance of balancing historical partnerships with the pursuit of new alliances.