Relational Security: Ethical Dilemmas of Geopolitics in the Blue Pacific Continent
Special Reports

Relational Security: Ethical Dilemmas of Geopolitics in the Blue Pacific Continent

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In this report, Maima Koro emphasizes the importance of “relational security” and the need for Pacific people to be consulted as equal partners in decisions that impact their communities. She also highlights the ethical dilemmas faced by Pacific people in the face of intense global competition and the complex ethical considerations that arise due to different understandings of security and power. The report calls for a comprehensive analysis of the ethical dilemmas faced by Pacific people and emphasizes the need for transparency and proper consultations in decision-making processes.

The current priority is to provide space for Pacific nations to engage in internal and regional discussions to realize their vision of a “secure, stable, and prosperous” Blue Pacific Continent. It is crucial to reframe political and policy language to avoid forcing binary geopolitical choices onto Pacific Island countries, which undermines their sovereignty. Concrete actions, rather than mere announcements, are needed to genuinely address the region’s security and stability based on Pacific Leaders’ priorities.

For this purpose, it is imperative that global powers engage with Pacific nations on equal footing prior to making decisions that impact their communities. Recognizing the autonomy of Pacific people, it is important not to speak on their behalf, make assumptions, or act without consultation. Prioritizing peace over conflict for the Blue Pacific Continent remains paramount, with a focus on relational security that respects the profound connection Pacific people have with their land, ocean, heritage, and fellow inhabitants across generations.

This report was produced as part of a project on Nuclear Disarmament and the Anthropocene: Voices from Pacific Island Countries, sponsored by Ploughshares Fund.

About the Author

Maima Koro is a Pacific Research Fellow for the Regional Perspectives Project, a research collaboration between the University of Adelaide with Pacific partners, funded by the Defence, Science and Technology Group. She is also pursuing PhD studies, focusing on the intersection of security and justice in Pacific communities. She has a particular interest in whole of country processes, grounded theories and applied research approaches. Her research interests include, international relations, global security, geopolitics, development studies, ethics and capacity development. Maima has over 20 years of international development experience in the Pacific at national and regional levels. She has worked in the law enforcement, education, health, and governance sectors. She has managed extensive stakeholder networks across Pacific governments, regional and multilateral organisations. Her management experience includes the integration of large multi-disciplinary teams and development of multi-year plans for complex multi-stakeholder projects across a host of island countries in the Pacific. An expert on the Pacific landscape, she specialises in the contextualisation of donor-funded initiatives, of relevance to Pacific environments.

Disclaimer: The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network or any of its members. The APLN’s website is a source of authoritative research and analysis and serves as a platform for debate and discussion among our senior network members, experts and practitioners, as well as the next generation of policymakers, analysts and advocates. Comments and responses can be emailed to

Image: Duncan C. Bevan, US Air Force

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