China has become the most favoured nation for the independent nation of Samoa. The Prime Minister of Samoa has considered the political and economic climatic change to the nascent economic superpower China as Samoa’s natural protector and most importantly an economic viable partner.
In terms of Australian perception this announcement has become not too surprising but more to the point of illustrating the changing attitudes by the Samoans towards Australian and New Zealand paternalism. The Australian perception to this attitude is one of indifference and apathy with a view that Samoan geo-political sphere of influence within the Pacific region whilst being important is not considered as an ideological obstruction to Australian and New Zealand geo-political interests.
It is highly probable that the Chinese will consider Samoa as merely a regional geo-political ally from now and well into the future. In general China will consider Samoa in reciprocal terms as a trusted ally more so than Australia.
Australian intelligence agencies however will not look too favourably of Samoan foregin policy and will consider Samoa as a likely anti-Australian influence within regional politics.
Dr Stephen Henningham a regional intelligence specialist within the Office of National Assessments (ONA) has been the High Commissioner to Samoa for the past few years and would have considered the Samoan situation with some regional authority, understanding moreover the peculiarity of the Samoan character. Unlike the Samoan intelligence services whom seem less astute in profiling their counterparts within the region they have become less subtle in their regional positioning announcing a pro-Chinese position.
In general, Australians will consider this announcement by the Samoan government has acceptable from an AUSAID level in sofaras, the recent announcements of foreign aid reductions to the Pacific Island region will be considered as timely convenient. The passing of the paternalism buck so to speak to China is acceptable to Australia’s AUSAID. It will not burden the Australian taxpayer in the least and hopefully in the near future the Samoans will consider migrating their people to China as well and not to New Zealand, Australia and America.
Brisbane Australia. 4th June 2012