In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Professor Rory Medcalf joins us to discuss China’s strategy in the Solomon Islands and the Southwest Pacific. Professor Medcalf explains that the Southwest Pacific, for much of its history, has not been a zone of major power competition and is important because it stands geographically between Australia and the rest of the Indo-Pacific and the US. The Solomon Islands is one of multiple locations in the region that China has expressed military interest in. He also argues that China’s objectives in the region could distort the interests and priorities of governments and societies and could change the region’s balance of power. Lastly, Professor Medcalf recommends that the Australian government and its partners build and maintain a new level of engagement (through both governance and civil society) in the region in order to provide alternatives to China’s influence.
In this episode, Dr. Anna Powles joins us to discuss China’s growing presence in the Pacific region. Dr. Powles analyzes the geopolitical and security concerns of China’s deepening involvement in the region, as well as the consequences of competition between regional powers. She also addresses the complexities of China’s strategic, economic, and diplomatic interests and implications for the future strategic balance of the region.