27 Sep 2004

Australia proposals over pre-emptive strikes in the region said to be aimed at PNG and Solomons

7:36 am on 27 September 2004

A regional expert has claimed Canberra's new policy of pre-emptive anti-terrorist strikes in the region is aimed at Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Professor Peter King, the convenor of the West Papua Project at Sydney University, says that despite Australian intervention in PNG and Solomon Islands, both countries have dubious military and police capabilities.

"There's certainly worry about Papua New Guinea, about infiltration of Papua New Guinea in various ways, possibly through West Papua where you've had fundamentalist Muslim activity sometimes with military sponsorship in setting up militias and so on. It all looks like in the end a potential threat to Australia, particularly if relations with Indonesia deteriorate."

Professor King says Australia may be launching a more pro-active policy, but the proposals may also have much to do with the upcoming Australian election.