Oceania Rising

OceaniaRisingPacific Institute, ANU College of Asia &the Pacific

Oceana Rising: Changing regional order and the role of China

Terence Wesley-Smith
Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

6pm – 7:30pm, Wednesday 15 July
Hedley Bull Theatre 2, Australian National University, Canberra

The foundations of international relations in the Pacific Islands are undergoing profound changes as new alliances challenge a regional order established a quarter of a century ago. Key symptoms of the new dynamics are the growing influence of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the formation of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, the increased salience of south-south relations, and the marginalization of the Pacific Islands Forum. The relative influence of external actors is also changing as traditional allies like Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, compete with new regional trade and development partners, particularly China. The lecture investigates the role of China in the new regional politics. It argues that China’s rise in the region has opened up important new economic and political possibilities for Pacific Islands states, and helped facilitate a new assertiveness on the part of island leaders intent on exercising more control over the regional agenda.

Terence Wesley-Smith is Professor and Director, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is editor of The Contemporary Pacific: a Journal of Island Affairs, author of “China’s Rise in Oceania: Issues and Perspectives” (Pacific Affairs 86.2, 2013), and co-editor (with Edgar Porter) of China in Oceania: Reshaping the Pacific? (Berghahn Press, 2010). Professor Wesley-Smith teaches about contemporary issues in the Pacific Islands region, with a particular focus on development, the impact of globalization, the political economy of mining in Papua New Guinea, as well as the emerging role of China.

Registration required: see here.