At its closest point the distance between Australia and the Solomon Islands is just under two thousand kilometres. Being so near is why Canberra is so worried about the deals the small Pacific nation is signing with China.
It means the once inconceivable idea of a Chinese military base being built right on our doorstep has become a very real possibility. And now there’s another potential threat that must be considered – Beijing is also cosying up to Papua New Guinea, a country of immense strategic significance.
As Tom Steinfort reports, at its closest point PNG is less than five kilometres from us.