What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

In late September, Pacific Island countries the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched their diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China. That month, a Beijing-based company signed a secretive deal granting it exclusive development rights for the strategic island of Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. (The Solomon government later called the deal “unlawful.”) Increased economic and political alignment with China, often at the expense of partnerships with countries like Taiwan and the United States, is often highly alluring to many developing countries in the region.

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