Divided Isles: Solomon Islands and the China Switch

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A pacy must-read analysis of one of the most consequential geopolitical events in Australia's region. 

In 2019, Solomon Islands made international headlines when the country severed its decades-old alliance with Taiwan in exchange for a partnership with Beijing. The decision prompted international condemnation and terrified Australian security experts, who feared Australia's historical Pacific advantage would come unstuck. 

This development is often framed as another example of China's inevitable capture of the region – but this misrepresents how and why the decision was made, and how Solomon Islanders have skilfully leveraged global angst over China to achieve extraordinary gains. Despite Solomon Islands' importance to Australia, local readers know little about the country, a fragile island-nation stretching over a thousand islands and speaking seventy indigenous languages. 

In Divided Isles, Edward Cavanough explains how the switch played out on the ground and its extraordinary potential consequences. He speaks with the dissidents and politicians who shape Solomon Islands' politics, and to the ordinary people whose lives have been upended by a decision that has changed the country – and the region – forever.