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Saturday, October 1, 2022

POWER CHANGES IN THE FAR EAST + PACIFIC ISLANDS #398

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Mr Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.

GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON

Change is Permanent and Balance is Temporary. Things are always changing. Human beings may – quite understandably – desire stability + continuity,  and turbulence + disruption are not welcome and yet the reality of the human journey is that quiet changes are ever-present.

A number of Asian countries have recently elected new leaders + the focus is on their ability to deal with global concerns as well as the relationships they will establish with China whose influence in the region is rising.  They are Anthony Albanese in Australia; Jose Ramos-Horta in East Timor; John Lee the new Chief Executive in Hong Kong; Ferdinand Marcos Jr in the Philippines and Yoon Suk-yeol in South Korea

Additionally, China’s Foreign Minister is in the middle of a 10-day tour of the Pacific Island nations during which he will visit the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. Wang Yi will also host his second-ever meeting with Pacific Island Foreign Ministers while in Fiji.

In Tarawera, the capital of Kiribati, Wang signed a feasibility study to upgrade the airstrip on Kanton Island which is a narrow ribbon of land just 3,000 km away from Hawaii which is the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command.

On a 2012 visit to the US Xi Jinping, then Vice President of China said that the Pacific Ocean was big enough to accommodate both the US and China. The focus is on the Micronesia Compact of Free Association with the US. The agreement allows the US, exclusively, to station forces in Micronesia. The agreement is up for renewal in 2023 + but negotiations have yet to conclude.

These developments in an often overlooked part of the world remind us of the significant international changes associated with the rise of China. The “newness” of China’s arrival is still under-appreciated and in the remaining 78 years of the current century, the changes associated with China’s development will become ever more apparent. Change is Permanent and Balance is Temporary.

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