Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 21: China in the Pacific Islands: impacts and implications
Although the debate about China’s rise tends to focus on implications for the global dominance of the United States (US), some of its most dramatic impacts have been on the developing world. China’s trade with developing countries has grown much faster than with developed economies, and the impact of Beijing’s diplomacy on the global South is evidenced by a plethora of recent investments and trade agreements, construction projects, and multilateral initiatives in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and throughout Asia. The small states and territories of the Pacific Islands region are no exception to this trend, and China’s regional presence has increased dramatically in recent times. Beijing has formal relations with eight of the 14 independent or self-governing Pacific Island states, and is increasingly active in key regional organizations, including the Pacific Islands Forum. According to China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang, bilateral trade has grown at an annual rate of 27 percent since 2006, and is now valued at USD 4.5 billion. Led by China Metallurgical Corporation’s USD 1.4 billion Ramu Nickel mining venture in Papua New Guinea, Chinese commercial investment in the region has also increased rapidly and construction contracts to Chinese firms now total in excess of USD 5 billion.
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