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France and Australia are ready for a war in the Pacific.

France is a small country ... of 11 million square kilometers, thanks to the 200 thousand Exclusive Economic Zone that surround the smallest of its islets. French Polynesia alone comprises over 100 islands and atolls lost in the Pacific, an area twenty times larger than the United Kingdom. Yet, at the end of the Cold War, Paris was thinking of getting rid of these lost territories in the Pacific. Didn't the Noumea Treaty offer a referendum on the independence of New Caledonia for 2018 ? Today, the deal has changed. Paris has good reasons to keep its territories in the Pacific.

China is investing heavily in the area, offering scholarships in Chinese universities, lending money to finance infrastructure projects throughout the region. The beneficiary countries must accept, in return, Chinese immigrants. In Tonga Islands, over the last decade, the Chinese have taken over more than 80% of the stores.
China has, of course, also invested in French Polynesia, technical stop, for her, to South America. France granted visas for Chinese tourists, set up direct flights between China and Papeete, let the Chinese invest in the local tourism industry and even opened its ports to Chinese warships.

It is because France realized that these lands at the end of the world were, in fact, located on the new front line between China and America. Australia is, moreover, eager to strengthen diplomatic relations with France. These relations had been damaged by the stubbornness of Paris to pursue nuclear tests in the Pacific in the 1980s. After the disastrous affair of the Rainbow Warrior, relations between the two countries had been buried. It should be remembered that the flagship of the Greenpeace environmental organization, which was present in the region to protest against the French nuclear tests, was sunk in Auckland Harbor, New Zealand, by French intelligence services on 10 July 1985. The photographer Fernando Pereira had, unfortunately, been killed during this unfair operation.
But the page is, well and well, turned. Last year, Australia supported the candidacy of New Caledonia and French Polynesia to participate in the Pacific Island Forum, one of the most important regional political organizations. Canberra is buying a dozen French submarines for a total of 50 billion Australian dollars, to the detriment of the Japanese competitor Mitsubishi. The growing political turmoil in French Caledonia is only a little reported in the Australian press, as Australia no longer seems interested in having its neighbors as independent Kanaks. In any case, it is no longer question for Paris to abandon its military installations in New Caledonia, whatever the result of the referendum promised for 2018.

The reason for the rapprochement between Australia and France is simple: the geopolitician of the Cold War, the American John Foster Dulles, understood from the 1950s that it was necessary to build defense lines in southern China, East of the Philippines and around Hawaii, to contain China in the Pacific. Australia and France are simply building a line of defense behind which they can take refuge in the event of an upcoming war between the United States and China in the Pacific.
Photo : Michelduchaine
see also Cleo Paskal article : France dives back into the South Pacific, Chatham House


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