China’s faltering Pacific overture in Solomon Islands

China’s faltering Pacific overture in Solomon Islands
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Islam News – For years, China has taken a confident, money-driven approach to expanding its power around the globe. Case in point: the Solomon Islands. In the past three years, China has rushed into seemingly every corner of the economy and politics of the South Pacific nation.

But now, residents of the Solomon Islands are pushing back against China’s efforts to expand its influence, a resistance that calls into question Beijing’s aggressive approach. They acknowledge that China is productive and attentive, but they see it less as a benign partner than as an imperious and corrupting force.

Reports of bribes abound, as do complaints about unpaid wages at a new stadium complex that China is building. And residents fear that secret deals with China on security could undermine their democracy as the government becomes more autocratic — and closer to Beijing.

“There’s no proper consultation with the people,” a tribal chief said. “No one is happy about it.”

Counterefforts: The U.S. and its allies worry that Beijing is creating a client state, securing deepwater ports and satellite communication sites in anticipation of potential future conflicts. To counter China, Australia will give the Solomon Islands more than $100 million in aid this fiscal year.

Source: The New York Times

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