Dragon in Paradise

U.S. interest in Oceania has faded since the end of the Cold War, and especially since September 11, 2001. China is taking advantage.

Issue: Summer 2003

STILL PREOCCUPIED with the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government risks overlooking important developments in peripheral regions. One such development is the growing role of China in Oceania--a vast Pacific Ocean area that covers nearly a third of the globe. Oceania includes 14 independent island states and related territories that, along with Australia and New Zealand, make up the Pacific Islands Forum, the main regional body. Since the Cold War's end, as the United States has downgraded its involvement in Oceania, China has increased its own investment. In an evolving relationship between the mighty and the micro states of the world, this shift of great power valence may bear important long-term consequences for the changing balance of international security.

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