small Pacific states

Call for closer ties between Australia and small Pacific states

The head of the Australian National University's Department of Strategic and Defence Studies, Professor John Blaxland, said he had been inspired by New Zealand's free association links with Niue and the Cook Islands.

Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Nauru would benefit from similar arrangements, he said.

Prof Blaxland said those countries were facing a conflation of issues - the geopolitical threat posed by rise of China, climate change, and issues with governance.