China and the Pacific: Opportunities from a Maritime Silk Road?
2.00pm – 3.30pm, Thursday 18 February 2016
New Law School Lecture Theatre 024, Law Building, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown, University of Sydney
What is the future for the South Pacific region in light of the Chinese grand strategy to build economic links along the “One Belt One Road” across Eurasia along a new Silk Road and to South East Asia along a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road?
While the South Pacific has been a place of colonial adventure and imaginings for centuries and, since the Second World War, an American lake, the new international order is transforming the region.
A new regionalism is cautiously progressing, new post-colonial identities expressing themselves and new economic opportunities are offered by the rising importance of China in this region, as in other regions of the world.
The new Beijing-based representative of the Pacific Islands Forum, the leadership organisation of the region, David Morris, has been actively promoting the engagement of the South Pacific with the new Maritime Silk Road. He has become a regular commentator in the Global Times and other Chinese and Pacific media.
China has promised $2 billion in development assistance, soft loans and investment to aid the Pacific Island Countries. Some are already hitting debt ceilings but all are benefiting from new infrastructure spending, growing Chinese tourism and the lure of greater trade and investment with the emerging great power to the north.
David Morris is the Chief Representative in China of the Pacific Islands Forum. As Trade Commissioner, he leads the Pacific Islands Forum Trade and Investment Commission China, promoting trade, investment, tourism and creative industries for the 14 Pacific Island Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum.
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