Flat White

The Pacific flirts with China at its own risk

3 June 2022

1:00 PM

3 June 2022

1:00 PM

Forewarned is forearmed… As China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, visits the nations of the Pacific, the rest of the world looks on in hope, or rather, disbelief at the sheer cheek of China’s forward behaviour.

Fortunately, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Panuelo, has brought to attention the limitations of the five-year plan that Yi proposes as part of the China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision, which roughly translates to ‘China’s attempted invasion of the Pacific’.

Last week, David Panuelo wrote to 18 other Pacific nations, including New Zealand and Australia, encouraging them to see through the ‘smokescreen’ that the Common Development Vision in the Pacific is to see the larger and (unsurprisingly) more sinister agenda, which could lead to major countries, such as Fiji and Samoa, losing their sovereignty and autonomy.

His letter claimed that the agreement, if signed, could lead to a second Cold War, or worse, another global conflict. Meanwhile, the ABC naively reported the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit as if he were merely visiting Fiji for a beach holiday and a few vodka martinis… Now that might actually be something worth watching, if it eventuates!

Nevertheless, I digress, and the outlook need not be bleak. Every nation in the Pacific can choose to preserve their sovereignty by actively refusing to enter into any agreement that has the potential to sign away their autonomy.

The dissolution of sovereignty is implied by most CCP agreements, so it would be wise for the Pacific to steer clear of them as a general rule.

Let us not forget that this plea from Panuelo also came only days after further documents were leaked about China’s ‘education’ detention centres, in which the names and images of thousands of children, elderly men and women, along with parents whose children had been forcibly taken away from them, were revealed.

Short-term gain, in the form of appeasement or investment, can be tempting to smaller nations, but the reality is that there can be no safe handing over of security to a country that fails to treat its people as human beings.

Security cannot be counted on from a dictator or a totalitarian state, especially one that brings with it the removal of individuality, the removal of freedom and autonomy, and the removal of any element of humanity and care. The moral of the story is that a totalitarian state has no morals.

Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany are examples of national security that have evolved into mass genocide, and in the case of the former, one of the largest experienced in human history rivaled only by Mao’s China, whose grisly detail we may never know.

Appeasing a dictator only leads to further paranoia on their part and is certainly a slippery slope. There is no rational explanation for paranoia or megalomania other than fear on the part of its beholder and, if you offer a dictator an inch, they will always take a mile. So, please be warned, Fiji, Samoa, and every other nation that appears on the CCP’s itinerary.

To the Pacific Nations,

Please politely open your doors to diplomacy, please politely open your doors to foreign visitors, and please do not open your doors to tyranny by signing something you will soon regret, for your sovereignty and own people’s sake.

Natasha Poole BA & MA Hons Litterae Humaniores, University of Oxford, UK

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