Despite the rejection of his ambitious trade and security deal by Pacific Islands leaders, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s diplomatic road show underlines the strategic nature of Beijing’s unprecedented investment in the South Pacific and the extent of the challenge to our economic and security interests.

It would be a mistake to regard Wang’s visit as merely payback for Australia’s resistance to Beijing’s influence operations or an opportunistic manoeuvre to sow discord among US allies on their home turf. The leaked details of the recently signed agreements with Solomon Islands and China’s 10-country security and free-trade initiative confirm that Wang’s visit is the culmination of a more far-reaching strategy a decade in the making. This aims to draw Pacific Island nations into China’s orbit, creating new dependencies and opportunities for geopolitical advancement and resource exploitation.

Continue reading …