Australia and, to an extent, New Zealand remain the default states to which most Pacific Island countries typically turn in times of natural disaster, or as security and development partners. Even so, the regional diplomatic scene is much more dynamic and challenging for Australian interests than it was a decade ago. The regional diplomatic architecture has grown increasingly more complex, with new organisations and regional and sub-regional groupings becoming more active, and with New Caledonia and French Polynesia admitted to the Pacific Islands Forum as full members. External players such as China and Indonesia are much more visible in regional affairs. Our research on geopolitics and regionalism is addressing the drivers of, and trends in, regional politics and diplomacy.
Subtopics within this program of research include: