Pacific islands: A new arena of rivalry between China and the US

HONIARA (Solomon Islands) • The three dozen men and women sitting under huge poinciana trees listen intently to Ms Joyce Konofilia. A candidate in last week's general election in the Solomon Islands, she was campaigning in a squalid settlement on a hillside above the capital city of Honiara where few residents have access to electricity and even fewer have jobs.

But when Ms Konofilia, an Australia-educated tourism consultant, had finished her stump speech, the first question from her audience was about foreign policy. A local elder rose and asked: "Do you support switching diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China?"

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Pacific islands: A new arena of rivalry between China and the US'. Print Edition | Subscribe