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The Melanesian Spearhead Group: testing Pacific island solidarity

By Ronald May

This Policy Analysis argues that a unified Melanesian Spearhead Group, backed by China, could provide a counterweight to the strong influences exerted by Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific Islands Forum.

With a meeting of the MSG due to be held in Fiji in the first quarter of 2011, the paper reviews the recent history of the MSG and considers the possible implications of events for Australia’s role in the region.