AUSTRALIA'S HOSTILITY TOWARD PACIFIC NO LONGER SECRET: WESLEY-SMITH

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By Mele Laumanu Petelo

HONOLULU, Hawaii (July 25, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---It's no longer a secret, says University of Hawaii Pacific Islands expert Dr. Terence Wesley- Smith, that Australia has adopted a rather more aggressive, hostile attitude towards the Pacific Islands region in recent years.

He says, the very revealing internal report about Pacific leaders and their countries' economies, which was intended for Australian government eyes only but obtained by a Reuters news agency reporter, bears all about Australia's attitude toward the Pacific region.

Wesley -Smith believes the non-diplomatic, sometimes derogatory comments contained in the briefing paper have "something to do with the end of the cold war and a new international environment, where regional powers with an interest in the Pacific Islands feel they can speak more frankly about how they view developments in the region."

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies professor says the report reveals a paternalistic attitude that should be of concern. It implies, he says, an Australian management role, with the regional power, in a sense, dictating to Pacific islanders what they should think and what they should do about their future development.

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