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China’s growing footprint in the Pacific Islands

  • Published
    3rd Jun, 2022

Context:

Foreign Minister of China, is currently on a visit to 10 Pacific Island Countries (PICs), and has co-hosted the Second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting with Fiji. Recent diplomatic developments on various fronts with the PICs have raised the regional concerns about growing Chinese footprint.

Significance of the Pacific Island Countries:

  • Economic Capabilities: PICs have some of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the world, which translate into huge economic potential due to the possibility of utilizing the wealth of fisheries, energy, minerals and other marine resources.
  • Strategic capabilities: PICs have played an important role in major power rivalry since the colonial era as the springboards for power projection. Pacific islands also acted as one of the major theatres of conflict during Second World War.
  • Potential International Vote bank: 14PICs bounded by shared economic and security concerns, accounts for many votes in the United Nations, acting as a potential vote bank for major powers to drive international opinion.
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