By Stephen Henningham
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Additional resources for The Pacific Island States: Security and Sovereignty in the Post-Cold War World
The entities in this sub-region include the Polynesian states of the Cook Islands, Tonga, Western Samoa and Niue, as well as several dependent territories in the Polynesian cultural zone, namely the American territory of American Samoa, the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, and the French territories of Wallis and Futuna and of French Polynesia. In addition the sub-region includes the 'Commonwealth' Micronesian states of Kiribati and Nauru. These latter two states are ethnically Micronesian. I have employed the adjective 'Commonwealth' with respect to them to indicate that they formerly were part of the British imperial system, and are now associated with the Commonwealth.
19 active membership of the OPM and similar movements seems to amount to only a few hundred, at most. Sympathy for their activities is, however, much more widespread in Irian Jaya. This expresses, the late Peter Hastings has pointed out, 'the continuing problems of Melanesians throughout the whole island [of New Guinea] in reaching accommodation with the demands of. powerful and alien civilization[s]. ' 5 OPM militants and their supporters have sought sanctuary across the border. Papua New Guinea, in an assertion of its sovereignty, has refused to grant Indonesian forces the right of 'hot pursuit' across the border in operations against OPM forces.
The boundary itself is not in dispute. It was agreed on between the Netherlands and Britain in 1895, and reconfirmed and clarified by Australia and Indonesia in 1974 and by Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in agreements concluded in 1979 and 1984. Similarly, the maritime boundaries between the two states have been settled amicably. But because of the harsh terrain, which comprises vast swamps, dense jungle and rugged mountains, demarcating the actual boundary has not been easy. In the 1950s the Dutch mistakenly administered villages later found to be in Papua New Guinea.