Kirsty Needham
For Kirsty Needham's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
The U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class maritime security cutter USCGC Bertholf pulls into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii in June 2012.
Apr 10, 2024
U.S. Coast Guard rebuts China's criticism of South Pacific vessel boardings
Last month six Chinese fishing boats were found to be violating Vanuatu's fisheries law by local police on board a U.S. Coast Guard boat.
The United States has cautioned Pacific Islands nations against assistance from China after reports surfaced that Chinese police are working in Kiribati.
Feb 28, 2024
U.S. cautions after Hawaii neighbor Kiribati gets Chinese police
The news comes as Beijing renews a push to expand security ties in the Pacific Islands in an intensifying rivalry with the United States.
U.S. President Joe Biden chats with Kiribati President Taneti Maamau as Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown looks on during a summit at the White House in Washington in September.
Feb 23, 2024
Chinese police are working in Kiribati, Hawaii's Pacific neighbor
Kiribati has not publicly announced the policing deal, which comes as Beijing renews a push to expand security ties in the Pacific islands.
A Beijing court heard Yang Hengjun's trial in secret in May 2021 and the case against him has never been publicly disclosed. He has denied working as a spy for Australia or the United States.
ASIA PACIFIC / Crime & Legal
Feb 5, 2024
Beijing court gives Australian writer suspended death sentence
Yang Hengjun had been accused of spying for a country China has not identified and the details of the case against him have not been made public.
Flags of Solomon Islands and China flutter near the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on July 11, 2023.
Jan 17, 2024
China helps Pacific Islands with policing, not defense: ambassador
Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 2019, with Nauru joining just after Taiwan's election.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday following the defeat of the Voice referendum.
Oct 15, 2023
Australia referendum failure may mean more divisive politics
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese misread the public mood, analysts said, as he took responsibility for the referendum result.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Ramos-Horta during a meeting in Dili, East Timor, in June 2022
Sep 29, 2023
Timor president says China military cooperation 'never discussed'
China's increased efforts to form security ties with developing countries in close proximity to Australia have raised alarm bells in Canberra.
U.S. President Joe Biden and other leaders during the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit at the White House in Washington last September.
Aug 19, 2023
No clear winner in U.S.-China contest in the South Pacific
The vast ocean region, pivotal in World War II, is in the spotlight again amid tensions over Taiwan.
Japan Times
Jun 6, 2023
China leads tech race, highlighting need for AUKUS sharing, think tank says
An analysis of 2 million science papers showed Beijing had a commanding lead in both hypersonics research and the technology to counter it, electronic warfare and key undersea capabilities.
Japan Times
Mar 24, 2023
After cyclones leave many homeless, Vanuatu takes climate plea to world stage
More than 3,000 people are still in evacuation centers three weeks after two category-four cyclones hit Vanuatu, which has a population of 319,000 spread across 80 islands.
Japan Times
Mar 10, 2023
Pacific's Micronesia in talks to switch ties from Beijing to Taiwan
Beijing and Taiwan have a history of competing in the Pacific islands, where four of Taiwan's 14 diplomatic allies are located.
Japan Times
Sep 5, 2022
Unpredictable Solomon Islands fuels U.S. concern as China's influence grows
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's unpredictable diplomacy will make it hard for Washington to make up lost ground with the island nation as Beijing seeks to expand its security presence.
Japan Times
Jun 28, 2022
Australia commits to Pacific islands defense training as China plans rival meet
Australia will double its funding for aerial surveillance of the Pacific islands vast fishing zone and provide financing for Pacific islands to build more resilient infrastructure.
Japan Times
May 14, 2022
Hero to hindrance: Australia's Morrison hurts party's election hopes
The PM's personality is now a liability, with public attacks from members of his own party and polls showing his government on track to lose to the Labor Party in the May 21 election.
Japan Times
Apr 27, 2022
Solomon Islands pact with China roils Australian PM's election campaign
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saw a hawkish stance on China as an electoral strength. But now his party is on the back foot on national security.
Japan Times
Apr 20, 2022
Solomon Islands PM says China security pact won't undermine regional peace
The move has heightened concerns in Canberra about the potential for a Chinese military presence less than 2,000 kilometers away.
Japan Times
Jan 24, 2022
Australian PM loses control of WeChat Chinese account as election looms
With a national election due by May, the government would have aimed to use the Morrison account to promote its policies during the Chinese New Year celebrations starting Feb. 1.
Japan Times
Jan 21, 2022
World rushes aid to tsunami-hit Tonga as drinking water and food run short
The first flights from Australia and New Zealand landed in Tonga on Thursday with much-needed supplies of water for sanitation and hygiene as well as shelter, communication equipment and power generators.
Japan Times
Jan 20, 2022
First aid finally reaches Tonga as telephone lines partially restored
The delivery of the supplies brought in by aircraft was contactless to ensure Tonga remains free of the coronavirus.
Japan Times
Jan 11, 2022
Pacific may be most likely to see 'strategic surprise,' U.S. policymaker says
The comments by U.S. Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell were apparently in reference to possible Chinese ambitions to establish Pacific-island bases.


Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?