The UK is a long way from the Pacific. But London is front and centre of moves to secure this region against the perceived China threat while Pacific Islands themselves complain they are sidelined.
- The Kiribati President says he was not consulted on the AUKUS deal and feels disrespected
- He wonders why defence cooperation between Australia and other nations has not been extended to Kiribati
- He says Australia's deal to acquire nuclear-powered submarines puts the region at risk
The AUKUS alliance has come as an unwelcome surprise to at least one Pacific leader. Kiribati President Tanati Maamau says he was not consulted.
He has told ABC TV's China Tonight he feels disrespected. He has lodged a complaint but says he has had no reply.
This comes after France has withdrawn its ambassador, furious at having its $90 billion submarine contract abruptly cancelled. France is a Pacific power with more than a million citizens in the region where it controls territory.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been at pains to describe AUKUS — Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States — as key to providing stability and peace to an increasingly volatile region.
To AUKUS add the Quad — Australia, the US, India and Japan — a collection of democracies formed in response to China's rising power.
Mr Maamau wonders why this cooperation does not extend to countries like his. He is especially concerned about Australia developing nuclear-powered submarines.