About the Journal
Chessboard or ‘Political Bazaar’?
Revisiting Beijing, Canberra and Wellington’s
Engagement with the South Pacific
Author: Matthew Hill
Volume 6, Number 3 (Spring 2010), pp. 41-58.
In asserting a ‘China threat’ to Australian and New Zealand interests in the South Pacific, many commentators have framed a regional political environment where influence is zero-sum, policy approaches conflict, and Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are reduced to static facets of a geopolitical ‘chessboard’. These three assumptions are challenged through an evaluation of Australasian, Chinese, and Pacific strategic engagement. Rather than merely representing an externally-contested arena of power, Oceania offers possibilities for the mutual satisfaction of objectives within a ‘political bazaar’ where PICs are significant actors bartering their political and economic assets to achieve their regional interests.
About the Author
Matthew Hill holds a Master of Arts with Honours (Strategic Studies) from the Australian National University, and an Honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Otago. He is currently an intern at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. firstname.lastname@example.org.