The China Alternative: Changing Regional Order in the Pacific.

Graeme Smith, Terence Wesley-Smith

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited Bookpeer-review


    The Pacific Islands region has entered a new period of uncertainty precipitated in large part by the emergence of China as a major regional actor as well as the reaction of more established powers to perceived threats to their longstanding influence. In March 2019, in the wake of a flurry of activity on the part of Australia, New Zealand and the United States aimed at countering Chinas growing influence in the Pacific Islands, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Cristelle Pratt declared that great power competition is back! before suggesting that Our task is to find an appropriate balance between leveraging the competition between partners and ensuring peace and cooperation prevails in our Blue Pacific (Pratt 2019, emphasis in original). We will argue here that although Island leaders have been remarkably successful at leveraging competition, this may not always be possible when great power strategic interests are at stake. Indeed, Pacific Island leaders may have no option but to take sides in the event that cooperation gives way to great power conflict somewhere in the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherANU Press
    Number of pages520
    ISBN (Print)9781760464172
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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