May 5, 2024 | Naval War College Review

Island-Hopping with Chinese Characteristics—What the PRC Is Doing in the Pacific Islands, Why It Matters, and Why the Time Has Come to “Block and Build”

May 5, 2024 | Naval War College Review

Island-Hopping with Chinese Characteristics—What the PRC Is Doing in the Pacific Islands, Why It Matters, and Why the Time Has Come to “Block and Build”

Excerpt

As James Lilley, former U.S. ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), often said, China has a habit of telegraphing its punches. So we have a pretty good idea about why Beijing wants influence—to the point of control—in the Pacific Islands.

In his 2011 book The Pacific Islands in China’s Grand Strategy: Small States, Big Games, Professor Jian Yang writes, “China’s growing involvement in the South Pacific is part of China’s growing involvement worldwide. . . . The discussion of Chinese involvement in and policy toward the South Pacific should be placed within this bigger picture. An isolated study without understanding China’s grand strategy and overall foreign policy goals can be misguided.”

Cleo Paskal is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and columnist with The Sunday Guardian.

Issues:

China Indo-Pacific