Associate Professor Graeme Smith of the Australian National University will present on the topic ‘China in the Pacific’, followed by an audience Q&A.

Over the last two decades the People’s Republic of China has become a major aid donor, trade partner, and source of investment in the Pacific. This session looks at the history of China’s rise, its main interests, and diplomatic competition between China and Taiwan. It will examine China’s changing role in the Pacific in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, with a focus on Pacific and Chinese perspectives. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of China’s motivations for engaging with the Pacific, with a particular focus on Chinese state and non-state actors involved in aid, investment, migration and diplomacy. Questions for discussion include: how have Pacific Islands states benefited from or been disadvantaged by China’s increased regional profile? Will they be able to retain their sovereignty as the rivalry between China and the US intensifies? How do ordinary citizens view these developments as Chinese companies and Chinese nationals become more active in their communities?

Associate Professor Graeme Smith is a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs. His research team explores PRC investment, migration, military engagement, technology and aid in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. He is the co-author of The China Alternative: Changing Regional Order in the Pacific Islands (ANU Press 2021). His work is published in The Australian Journal of International Affairs, Third World Quarterly, Pacific Affairs and The China Journal. He is the winner of best article prizes in The Journal of Pacific History and The China Quarterly. He is the co-host of the awarding-winning Little Red Podcast and editor at The China Story.



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