Comunidad del pacífico en perspectiva - Volumen 2

LA CoMUNIDAD DEL PAcíFICO EN PElÍliPECTIVA'/ F. Onego VícU11a couId all fit into the Australian land mass and still leave room for Japan. the two Koreas, Taiwan and P.N.C. Its richness is generaIly assessed in terms of its abundance of natural resources and fertile soils. Its population is currently 14.3 million and wiII still be un– der 20 million by the end of the century, whereas the combined po– pulations of the countries just mentioned are about 500 million and will exceed 750 million by the year 2000. These facts ilIustrate the problem which faces Australia without the need for further embeIlishment. They aIso indicate some of the reasons for its preoccupation with the Western rim of the Pacific -the countries to the near North- rather than with the Eastern. A further reason for this preoccupation is its special relationship with Papua New Guinea. This historie link, initiated by a League of Nations mandate and preserved by a United Nations trusteeship, has amounted, although it was never sought on that basis, to a colonial relationship. Now that Papua New Guinea has achieved independence. a large proportion of Australia's aid funds are direc– ted to it. The first strategic observation forced upon Australia from' the north is the immense human tide of refugees flowing out of Indo– china. Since the end of what is now caUed the second Vietnam was in 1975 more than a million people have been uprooted, the lar– gest displacement since WorId War n. Since the latest Vietnam war against Cambodia and the Chinese invasion of Vietnam, that figure has been greatly increased and will continue 10 grow. The era of the boat people has begun. Indochina is today the scene of the greatest human tragedy the modern worId has witnessed. The rulers of Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia itself all admit that in the past four years, the po– pulation of Cambodia has been reduced from 8 million to 5 mi– Ilion, that is by almost 40%. Up to 3 million people have either been executed with indescribable brutality, or have died of· star– vation. In the history of human horror what has happened in Cam– bodia has few paraIlels. In Vietnam, where the vietors in the war were more humane, 1 million peoplehave been ldlled, plaá~d in concentration caitlps, or in what are euphemistically ·called "new económic zones", or dri" 78