The United States and its partners are stepping up their diplomatic presence with the Pacific Island States and bilateral cooperation. For an expert consulted by Sputnik, US interest is not coincidental and is part of the strategy aimed at containing China in the region.
That is why the US has announced that it will increase its diplomatic staff in Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Fiji over the course of the next two years, until 2020. Austria will also lead by example and will soon open a delegation in Tuvalu.
The same will do the United Kingdom and France. Added to this are the military exercises on the Australian coasts, which will include Paris, Tokyo, Washington, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga. What does China have to do with all this?
“The island countries of the Pacific region have great strategic importance and many maritime natural resources (…) and China is also interested in these States (…) For now, the developed countries are not paying attention to the countries of Oceania, but China has I’ve been bonding with them in the face of Japan’s envy … Beijing and Tokyo have a long and fierce competition in the region, “Yang Danzhi, director of the Regional Security Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Sputnik.
To that race for influence in the region are now added Australia and other Western countries, explains the Chinese specialist. Its political, diplomatic, military and economic presence is increasingly evident, Yang adds.
Australia, in its role as a naval power, believes itself linked to both Oceania and Southeast Asia and wants to extend its influence in its region.
But the western countries are not the only ones. The Asian giant also has its own interests in maintaining its influence over these countries.
A long list of oceanic states is equally important for Beijing because they maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan – recognized as a sovereign nation by only 17 countries, mainly small ones; the others consider it part of China, but they also maintain non-diplomatic official relations – and that irritates the Asian giant.
These are Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. And it is precisely now that between China and Taiwan the diplomatic struggle has intensified. The US goal is to tickle China, concludes Danzhi.
Source: Mundo Sputnik News