China is reportedly proposing a major initiative with Pacific Island nations in policing, maritime cooperation and cybersecurity, while also developing a scholarship program for more than 2k workers and young diplomats.
Drafts of the documents were reportedly sent to 10 nations prior to a meeting next week in Fiji, when Pacific Island leaders are scheduled to gather with the PRC's foreign minister, Wang Yi.
The PRC's push into the South Pacific is destabilizing, and will require the US and Australia to adopt a new security approach as China grabs a foothold in Oceania. This new framework may lead the Pacific Islands to become a hotbed for a conflict between the US and China.
China is a popular and supportive regional partner in the Pacific. In fact, Australia and other Western powers act as hegemonic colonists, intimidating neighbors who don't follow its orders. Beijing offers a wide range of economic and security development options without the demanding political conditions of the West.
Pacific Island nations have every right to play both sides. The current security situation in the South Pacific makes it possible for less influential countries to benefit from the angst of regional powers. The Solomon Islands and its neighbors can leverage this to maximize aid from both China and the West.
None of the powers with an eye on Oceania - including the US, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Japan - are taking the the true security concerns of the Pacific Islands seriously. The region is threatened by severe climate impacts, but these powers are more concerned with their own self interests. The security and future of the Pacific must be determined by Pacific Island countries on their own.