PACIFIC BRIEFS

Monday April 23, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

BRITAIN TO OPEN diplomatic posts

PACIFIC – The UK is to open new diplomatic posts in Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga among nine new posts in Commonwealth countries as part of an expansion of the UK’s overseas network British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, linked the announcement to the UK’s exit from the European Union. He said the new posts were in regions which provided “huge potential and opportunity post-Brexit for British businesses”. A statement from the UK government said the expanded network “puts Britain in peak position to enhance military cooperation, boost trade and provide services to the rapidly expanding middle classes of the developing world”. Tonga’s Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva described the UK’s re-engagenment with the Pacific as “music to Tongan ears”. Britain already has a high commission in Fiji.

another US World War 2 wreck found

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Ocean floor searches for US navy warships sunk during World War Two have had more success. The searches, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, have located a number of famous shipwrecks over the past six months. These include USS Indianapolis off Tinian, the carrier USS Lexington in the Coral Sea, and the USS Juneau in Iron Bottom Sound off Honiara in Solomon Islands. The latest find is also in the Solomons – the light cruiser USS Helena which sank slowly after being hit by a Japanese torpedo on July 6, 1943, during the Battle of Kula Gulf. USS Helena, named after the capital of Montana, was one of the vessels damaged but not destroyed during the attack on Pearl Harbour.

FIJIANA LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT

FIJI – The Fiji women’s sevens team are confident results will pick up provided they can put their best team on the field. The Fijiana finished fourth on the World Series last season but are a lowly tenth heading into the third round of the season this weekend in Kitakyushu, Japan. The Fijiana finished fourth on the World Series last season but are a lowly tenth heading into the third round of the season. Head coach Iliesa Tanivula said injuries to key players made it difficult for them to compete in Dubai and Sydney. The Fijiana finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games last weekend, losing to bronze medallists England and runners-up Australia in pool play. Captain Ana Maria Rociqa said the players were looking forward to having another shot at the English this weekend.

30TH ANNIVERSARY OF HOSTAGE CRISIS

NEW CALEDONIA – Commemorations have begun in New Caledonia to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ouvea hostage crisis. In April 1988, Kanak militants killed four French police officers and took 27 others hostage, triggering an operation during which the security forces killed 19 hostage takers. On Sunday, wreaths were laid on at the site of the incident on Ouvea to honour the dead officers, and officials also went to the grave of a local man who died in the war in Afghanistan 10 years ago. The two-week crisis of 1988 is being commemorated with a range of events across New Caledonia in efforts to foster reconciliation. On May 5 the French president Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit Ouvea despite objections by local groups.

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