Soundings Papers: Manus Island and the Lombrum Naval Base: Five Options for Australia’s Geostrategic Gateway

Soundings No. 35
Soundings No. 35

PDF : 3.79 MB

Adam Lockyer, Justin Burke, Yves-Heng Lim and Fred Smith

Manus Island is the geostrategic gateway to the South Pacific. It is ideally positioned to support offensive, defensive or humanitarian operations throughout the region. Over the years, Manus Island’s geostrategic value has not been lost on regional players, with Britain, Germany, Japan, Australia and the United States having all garrisoned forces there. More recently, there have been reports that the island has caught China’s eye.

What are Australia’s strategic options for Manus Island and the Lombrum Naval Base? This paper does not seek to argue for one option over another. Instead, its objective is to be a discussion paper that maps out the different options and explains their benefits, limitations and financial costs. It hopes to provoke thought, discussion and argument on the future of Manus Island specifically, and Australia’s geopolitical goals and vision for the wider South Pacific more generally.