Sino-Pacific relations

Bilateral relations / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oceania is, to the People's Republic of China (PRC; "China") and the Republic of China (ROC; "Taiwan"), a stage for continuous diplomatic competition. The PRC dictates that no state can have diplomatic relations with both the PRC and the ROC. As of 2019, ten states in Oceania have diplomatic relations with the PRC, and four have diplomatic relations with the ROC. These numbers fluctuate as Pacific Island nations re-evaluate their foreign policies, and occasionally shift diplomatic recognition between Beijing and Taipei. The issue of which "Chinese" government to recognize has become a central theme in the elections of numerous Pacific Island nations, and has led to several votes of no-confidence.

The PRC (red), the ROC (blue), and the fourteen sovereign countries of Oceania. Those in pink recognise the PRC; those in light blue recognise the ROC. (as of September 2019)
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China–Pacific relations
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Taiwan–Pacific relations

Although both Australia and New Zealand have long recognized the PRC and maintain stable and cordial relationships, the PRC and the ROC continue to actively court diplomatic favours from small Pacific island nations, which commentators have referred to as "chequebook diplomacy", usually in the form of developmental aid, or in the case of the PRC, by providing assistance in building large government complexes, stadia, or infrastructure.[1] According to Taiwanese newspaper The China Post, "Taiwan and China compete ferociously for diplomatic ties, and both sides have given away millions of dollars to bolster diplomatic relations or steal allies from each other."[2]

Several Pacific island states receive significant amounts of development aid from the ROC or the PRC. Hamish McDonald of The Age thus reported in 2003 that "[p]laying off China against Taiwan for diplomatic recognition continues as a lucrative export earner for tiny Pacific island nations".[3] The ROC's Pacific allies pledge in return to promote Taiwan's interests in the United Nations, and do so actively.

In addition, several Pacific countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa have ethnic minorities of Chinese descent among their citizens. There are an estimated 80,000 "overseas Chinese" in the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, including 20,000 in Fiji and 20,000 in Papua New Guinea. Countries including Australia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have also attracted Chinese businesses and investments.[1]

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