Engaging China’s new foreign policy in the South Pacific

Author/s (editor/s):

Peter Connolly

Publication year:

2016

Publication type:

Journal article

China’s declared foreign policy of ‘non-interference’ is contradicted by its actions in recent times. Beyond activities in the East and South China Seas, the involvement of China in negotiations on the Korean Peninsula, the evacuation of Chinese citizens from various crises, and the deployment of Chinese combat troops to peacekeeping missions in Africa have indicated China’s growing interests in the shape of world affairs, coinciding with a growing economic and military capacity to influence them. Much attention has been given to the potential consequences of great-power competition between the USA and China, but little focus has been given to the impact these trends may have in the outlying regions of Chinese foreign policy. One such place is Melanesia in the South Pacific—a subregion where a small influence from a Chinese perspective can have a significant impact on Pacific Island Countries. This article postulates that, over time, there is potential for the consequences of Chinese interests to lead to accidental friction, and suggests that this risk can be mitigated through increased cooperation.

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Updated:  22 March 2016/Responsible Officer:  Su-Ann Tan/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team