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The Global Marketplace Versus the Global South

File image of Cameroonian timber. DELPHINE RAMOND / AFP

This week The Guardian carried two articles about China’s growing influence in the Pacific Island region. The first, under the headline “Pacific Plunder,” highlights how China imports more wood, fish, and minerals from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and elsewhere than any other major importer.

The second article, by two academics, Gerard Finin and Terence Wesley-Smith, argues against the Biden administration’s plan to use infrastructure investment to counter the influence of China in the Pacific Island region. They argue that the plan ignores the development priorities of Pacific island governments, risks flooding the region with the aid it can’t absorb, and pushes these states into a zero-sum struggle between the United States and China. While the United States sees Chinese influence in the region as a major threat, for these island nations themselves, China’s danger pales in comparison to climate change.

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