The Pacific Island Countries in China's Current Policy
The paper examines the dynamics in relations between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the South Pacific small island states collectively referred to as Pacific island countries (PICs). The specificity of current China’s policy is revealed, the reasons for concern from the PIC perspective are outlined, the aftereffects of the on-going political and security initiatives – the Indo-Pacific Region, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and the pact between Australia, the US and the United Kingdom (AUKUS) – on the regional milieu and the PICs are scrutinized. The author argues that although selected aspects of China’s policy is encountering criticism across the region, Beijing outperforms Canberra and Washington. The main reason is predetermined by China’s ability to address the PICs non-traditional security concerns and infrastructure needs, while the policies of Australia and the US are deteriorating the regional milieu, much to the PIC’s disadvantage.