How China is exerting its power in Vanuatu

How China is exerting its power in Vanuatu, by Gavin Fernando.

China’s exertion of influence in Vanuatu is well-documented.

According to local reports, China accounts for almost half of the country’s $440 million debt.

Earlier this year, it was reported that hundreds of millions of dollars being lent to South Pacific nations had seen through island nations struggling with debt repayment.

According to the Lowy Institute, China transferred at least $2.2 billion to Pacific nations between 2006 and 2016. …

This is nothing new for China. Security experts have previously told China targets poor countries and employs a “debt-trap strategy”, by getting them hooked on debts they can’t pay back, which allows them to grab territory or create ports instead.

We’ve already seen this happen with numerous countries including Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos and Djibuoti — the one country where China has a confirmed military base.

The idea is to use the smaller countries’ strategic locations or resources, or secure their support in diplomatic affairs when needed.

Two years years ago Vanuatu became the first country in the Pacific to publicly pledge its “full understanding and support” for Beijing’s position over the disputed South China Sea.

hat-tip Stephen Neil