Opinion piece by Suliasi Daunitutu
Regional political expert Professor Stephen Hoadley said that Voreqe Bainimarama was “a bit off the mark” in his comment about severing ties with Australia and New Zealand and aligning with China.
As he is an expert in the political landscape and operation of the region, I would consider his analysis as data that could be useful in contemplative guidelines for adjustment or even complete change.
I pondered on these critical examinations of Bainimarama’s views by Prof. Hoadley and asked a few questions myself as to what was the exact reasoning behind them. I know that I won’t be able to conclude on Bainimarama’s mental conceptualisation of where the country is heading and how to achieve that.
The only thing I can do is, like Prof. Hoadley, make critical analysis of the situation and try to make a judgement based on my understanding of the issue and its complexity.
I will pose a few questions before I make that judgement. My first question, if Bainimarama is going to abandon Fiji’s long-time partners in the Pacific, where trade has been established, friendship has been forged, ideas have been exchanged and mutual agreement has been reached in many occasions, even where the three countries have been shoulder to shoulder in armed conflicts and taken part inclusively around the globe in peacekeeping duties:
How long will the aligning process be allowed to continue, before we can be assured that the relationship between the two countries has reached the maturity of a solidified partnership like the Pacific neighbours have enjoyed?
In this trade exchange with the Asian superpower, what commodity would Fiji deliver that will interest China, and would there be a consistent supply to meet the demand, if there was any, given our geographical dimensions?
And will there be an obstacle in the distance between the two countries where costs could play a major role?
Given Fiji’s present economical status, which leads me to believe that there is very little Fiji can offer China, except our biggest asset “land”? Will this be an explanation to the rushed land reforms?
If the above questions have genuine concern in their answers and if my assumptions have the slightest truth in its epigrammatical statement of conception, would it be correct to say that China has no interest in Fiji.
It has otherwise a keen interest in establishing a launching pad into the Asian Pacific region for displacement of population, distribution of industrial mass production factories and a bold attempt to have a go at the predominantly Australian, New Zealand and lately EU’s pie.
China has terrible work ethics and is a champion in mass production that accompanies long hours and low wages. It has little land to build: why not use land that has been reformed to their tailored needs and have a spot in a region that is foreign and strategically placed to further their dominance in the global business and trade landscape?
Maybe Prof. Hoadley and many experts in the region have correctly identified the problem that Fiji will face, but does anyone really know the truth in Bainimarama’s vision? Would my humble thoughts and questions confirm some of those claims?
I guess, we will have to wait for time to provide us with an answer.