China is buying allies in the Pacific, says Australian scholar

Clive Hamilton said Taiwan is being marginalized by Chinese investments in the Pacific region

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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien attending Marshall Islands Independence Day celebration on May 2.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien attending Marshall Islands Independence Day celebration on May 2. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Australian Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University Clive Hamilton recently told the Liberty Times that China is buying political allies in the Pacific region to marginalize Taiwan and such actions pose a serious threat to the United States and Australia.

According to Sydney-based Lowy Institute research, China has become the second largest donor of financial aid in the Pacific region, spending US$1.3 billion from 2011 to 2018. While Australia tops the chart with its US$6.6 billion in aid, China still accounts for one third of financial aid in the region.

With Taiwan’s Solomon Islands partnership in limbo, the country’s long-standing presence in the Pacific region is now being marginalized by China’s expanding aid to the region, said Hamilton.

Hamilton told Liberty Times that while these Pacific islands still welcome foreign investment, many islanders feel their state sovereignty is slowing being eroded, and their political leaders are “being bought off” by China.

He advised Taiwan to strengthen its partnerships with allies in the Indo-Pacific region and set itself apart from China’s image as a bully.