China’s ambitious push into the Pacific Islands through infrastructure investments and loans has raised concerns about its grand strategy and geopolitical goals for nearby middle powers such as Australia. Meanwhile, Beijing’s recent security deal with Solomon Islands plus its attempt to strike a larger deal with ten other island nations has prompted Australia to reaffirm its commitment to the region. So, what’s been the real trade-off for the island nations caught up in China’s Pacific aspirations? And how are the U.S. and its allies such as Australia, who have long assumed some sphere of influence in the region, responding to China’s push? Seasoned China watcher Associate Professor Graeme Smith joins host Peter Clarke to examine China’s growing footprint in Pacific Island countries.
Main image: Professor Graeme Smith. Listing image: Solomon Islands. Credit: ILO Asia Pacific/Flickr.