Back in 2017 Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi declared that geography and the shift in global power had combined to put the Pacific “at the centre of contemporary global geopolitics.” He was talking about the Blue Pacific, an initiative designed to create what he called “a new narrative for Pacific regionalism and how the [Pacific Islands] Forum engages with the world.”

Whether the region’s plan to take greater control of its fate will be squeezed or helped by the two much larger narratives rising up at its edges — the Washington-led Indo-Pacific partnerships and Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative — is largely up to the Pacific Islanders themselves. At least that’s the message from Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor and Vanuatu’s foreign minister Ralph Regenvanu.

The pair, who I interviewed for the latest Little Red Podcast, believe that the Pacific is up for the challenge, though the two big-power narratives will need some tweaking to fit with the concerns and hopes of Pacific Islanders, particularly about climate change and jobs.

Read the full article on Inside Story.

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