The Solomon Islands has become the focus of a fierce geopolitical rivalry between the allies of the U.S. on one hand, and China on the other, after announcing an extensive security pact with Beijing a year and a half ago. But some are concerned that great power competition is overshadowing national development priorities.
A noticeable thaw in relations between China and Australia under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese suggests both sides have agreed to put the acrimony of recent years behind them. But while Albanese has changed the tone of relations, his policy represents continuity, raising the question of whether this approach is just a short-term fix.
More than 1,000 days after being imprisoned, Australian journalist Cheng Lei is still behind bars in China awaiting a verdict on spying charges. But her case does not appear to be directly work-related. It is more likely that Cheng was collateral damage of bilateral tensions between Australia and China at the time of her detention.