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China's ‘charm offensive’ in the Pacific and Australia's regional order

Hameiri, S. (2015) China's ‘charm offensive’ in the Pacific and Australia's regional order. The Pacific Review, 28 (5). pp. 631-654.

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In recent years, a perception has emerged among many policymakers and commentators that the deepening of the People's Republic of China engagement in the Pacific Islands Region, predominantly through its expanding foreign aid programme, threatens to undermine the existing regional order, in which Australia is dominant. In this article, it is argued that China's apparent ‘charm offensive’ in the Pacific is mainly driven by commercial, not political, imperatives and is far more fragmented and incoherent than is often assumed. Hence, its (real) political effects hinge, not on any Chinese strategic designs for regional domination, or even a more limited resource security agenda, but on the intent and capacity of Pacific governments to harness deepening aid, investment and trade relations with China towards their own foreign and domestic policy objectives, which include limiting Australian interference in the internal governance processes of Pacific states. This argument is demonstrated by the case of Fiji after the December 2006 military coup.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: Taylor & Francis
Notes: Online 19 February 2015
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