IB 2020/22 China’s Military Engagement with Pacific Island Countries

Cover of In Brief 2020/22 China’s Military Engagement with Pacific Island Countries

Author/s (editor/s):

Denghua Zhang

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In Brief

China’s fast-growing presence in the Pacific Island countries (PICs) have triggered traditional powers’ increasing concerns about China’s military ambition in the region. In April 2018, in response to media speculation about China’s plan to build a military base in Vanuatu, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that ‘[w]e would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific Island countries and neighbours of ours’. In 2019, China Sam Enterprise Group’s plan to lease the island of Tulagi in Solomon Islands (later vetoed by the Solomon Islands government) caused alarm in the United States and Australia. Drawing upon scholarly works and public documents in English and Mandarin, this research provides a brief account of China’s military engagement with PICs since 2006 and China’s perspectives on the relevance of these countries to its national security.

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