13 Oct 2004

Guam speaker says Pacific island states should identify real security issues

3:41 pm on 13 October 2004

A former U.S. Congressman from Guam says Pacific Island countries should address their real security concerns instead of claiming they're at risk from global security issues.

Dr Robert Underwood, in an address at the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, says the potential threat from terrorism remains a limited threat in this region.

Security was high on the agenda of the most recent Pacific Islands Forum summit where countries agreed to implement stricter international regulations regarding ports, airports and customs.

Dr Underwood says Pacific Island countries are attempting to secure attention to qualify for resources.

"By learning the language of new security concerns. By expanding the list of security concerns in the Pacific, small Pacific islands secure attention and some resources. In this resource poor environment, the logic of security talk is both seductive and potentially lucrative."

Dr Robert Underwood.

Questions were, however, raised that Pacific island states have had high compliance costs as a result of the new international emphasis on security.