China’s Empowering Proposition
CPA – 2/17/2019 8:11:06 AM
« Si tu étais venu chez nous, nous t’aurions accueilli à bras ouverts. Mais tu es venu ici chez toi, et on ne sait comment t’accueillir chez toi. »1 Henri Hiro
Our Pacific islands need to shift from exclusive focus on development models which prioritize the efficiency of free markets. Neoliberalism was supposed to take us out of poverty and underdevelopment. It has so far failed. We need to learn from countries such as China, which has successfully tried alternative methods to advance these objectives, and to give to China its own opportunity to contribute to our development, while resisting Western efforts to prevent China development assistance in the Pacific Islands as if such international assistance were a political zero-sum game lever for influence.
We Pacific Islanders should have enough confidence in ourselves to safeguard balance in our multilateral relations with both China and the West, and to pursue such projects with China without being taken advantage of. We shouldn’t abjure negotiating such Chinese projects because on the one hand the West fears that China will thus expand its influence, or on the other hand because we think our own selves to be too weak to defend and maximize our own interests through such bilateral or multilateral development projects.
1) SITUATION AND REALITIES OF THE PACIFIC REGION; WHAT HAPPENED?
a) Pacific Settlement
About 3,500 years ago, our Polynesian ancestors2 carried out a unique exploit in humanity’s history: a systematic settlement of the world’s largest ocean, the Pacific3. This was also the first technology-based migration4: those people didn’t just walk, but constructed ocean-going outrigger canoes and applied extremely sophisticated knowledge of the environment: ocean, waves, skies, stars, fishing, food processing5… Yes, the world now marvels at the scope of the much later European trans-oceanic migrations to the Americas.
Throughout this ocean venture, from west to east, a space with no boundaries, generations after generations of navigators, sailors, fishermen, hunters, farmers, warriors, craftsmen, artists… populated the Pacific islands, always welcoming new-comers. These island cultures were fully self-sustainable, and in the first repeated contacts with Europeans, provided abundant resources for their foreign vessels which would come to refurbish.
Since then, this ocean has developed as both a hub of foreign exchanges… and greed.
Now, two centuries later, the same Pacific Islands which provided major resources benefitting overseas empires (animal fur6, whaling, fisheries, pearls, pearl shell, lumber, sandal wood, coconut oil, copra, sugar7, vanilla, cacao, nickel, gold, bauxite, phosphate….) have become totally dependent on those same foreign ships for importing everything from construction materials to clothing, food and in some cases even water. What happened?
b) First encounters
A few decades before the famous European voyages of ‘discovery’ (Christopher Columbus in 1492; Vasco da Gama in 1498; Vasco Nunez de Balboa8 in 1513 and Ferdinand Magellan in 1519), another great exploratory sea mission occurred, but which did not develop into a mass migration or conquest. Zheng He, a Chinese Muslim eunuch, commanded from 1405 to 1433 seven sailing expeditions9. The first expedition consisted of 27,800 men and a fleet of 62 ships supported by approximately 190 smaller ships10 which sailed from China towards the west across the Indian Ocean, reaching as far as Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. The voyages’ purpose was to display Ming dynasty’s might and glory. Merchants accompanied Zheng’s voyages, bringing with them silks and porcelain to trade for foreign luxuries such as spices, jewels and tropical woods. Italian Matteo Ricci11, when evaluating Zheng He’s voyages, noted the important distinction that China chose culture exchanges and trade, over conquest and colonization.
Westerners chose a different path. In 1565, Spain declared Philippines as its colony and Guam as its important transfer station between Philippines and Mexico for their merchant ships. France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States, and eventually Germany, and Japan, followed suit, colonizing large parts of the Pacific region, competing vigorously and ambitiously for control over its strategic sea passages..
c) Quick history of Proxy Control of the Western Pacific12
The British colonized Australia in 1788, New Zealand in 1840 and Fiji in 1874. To protect their interests in unclaimed islands, Britain established in 1877 the Western Pacific High Commission. France seized Tahiti in 1842, New Caledonia in 1853, and then other islands groups near Tahiti in 1880s. In 1856, United States unilaterally passed the “Guano Island Act (GIA)”, founding to this day its legacy of U.S. control over most of the Western Pacific13. In 1867, the US bought Alaska and the Aleutian Islands from Russia, expanding by 20% American territory of the time. In 1898 the U.S. annexed Hawaii. In the same year, after defeating Spain and the Treaty of Paris, the US occupied Guam and the Philippines ; in 1899 Samoa was partitioned between Germany and the US (expanded with new islands in 1900, 1904, and in 1925 with Swains Island), with the Solomon Islands added to the British sphere of influence, and today’s Vanuatu was declared in 1906 a condominium by Britain and France.
After WWI, the League of Nations handed to Japan the South Pacific Mandate14, a large chunk of the former German colonies15.
After WWII, in April 1947, the UN Security Council made the United States the trustee of 2,000 islands16 that Japan had once occupied. Inclusion of these islands quadrupled the U.S. exclusive economic zone. The Victors in the two world wars, especially the U.K., France and the U.S., thus preserved and fortified their presence.
With the Cold War ending, some Mandates annexed to the United States as overseas territories (i.e., Guam) were transformed into a Commonwealth of Nations (ie. North Mariana Islands), while others established independent autonomous governments (Marshall Islands17, FSM18, Palau19) after signing the “Compact of Free Association” with the U.S.. This Compact in essence provided U.S. funds and social services in exchange for its control over the defense, finance and diplomacy of these new governments20. America thus continues to control a substantial number of the northern Pacific islands, establishing alliances21 to guarantee U.S. military presence in the Pacific Ocean. Maintaining its dominant position in the northern pacific region22, the United States proved that “any country that wants to go against the United States in the Pacific Ocean needs to reconsider their decision.”23
Australia and New Zealand24 became responsible for the defense and foreign affairs of the Coral Sea Islands (Australia), Kingston (Australia), the Kermadec Islands (New Zealand), Tokelau (New Zealand), and the Cook Islands (New Zealand). The United Kingdom kept control of the Pitcairn Islands (EEZ of 836,000 sq.km), while France kept most of its Pacific colonies25, French Polynesia (EEZ of 5,500 million sq.km), New Caledonia (EEZ 1,423 million of sq.km), and Wallis and Futuna (EEZ of 258,000 sq.km).
d) Military presence & Testing grounds
After WWII, Pacific islands became the testing grounds for nuclear explosions. In July 1947, a United States Atomic Energy Commission declared the establishment of the Pacific Proving Grounds for testing nuclear weapons. From the 1940s to 1990s, the United States conducted 1054 nuclear tests26. In March 1954 the largest weapon ever tested (15 megatons)27 was detonated on Marshall Islands28. In October 1952, the U.K. conducted its first nuclear test in a shallow bay on Trimouille Islands29. From 1966 to 1996, France conducted 193 nuclear tests in Mururoa and Fangataufa.
This nuclear testing and military presence brought about irreversible transformations to our natural environment, traditional land-use and to the daily life of the overall population living on these atolls30, intensifying latent conflicts between Pacific islanders and the West31.
e) Current situation
The economic structures of Pacific Island countries are mostly built on single primary products (phosphate, coconut oil, fisheries…) or services (mostly tourism). Most of the island nations depend on support from major powers present in the region, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France, and/or international organizations. These western development aid programs often include requirements, such as resource privatization, which deeply compromise local economic sovereignty32. The Western media complements the process by enshrining those same market-based efficiency ideas and views as the only effective model for world economic development.
2) FISHING RODS VERSUS BOOMERANG AID
As a harmonious population, we Pacific islanders have been relatively helpless facing the sheer force and controlling influence of the outside new world economic order. Military presence, nuclear explosions, financial models, western rules, values and models have annihilated and replaced our traditional cultural environment and economic sectors with foreign ones. We changed our ways to fit the West’s. Then we started to feel pain imposed by all those development aid conditions: structural adjustment plans & implementations, budgetary rigor, privatization, economic liberalization, the deregulation of our very small markets, reorientation of public spending (e.g., away from health or education, for example) towards more productive sectors (e.g., subsidizing big companies and creating low wage jobs).
a) International versus China’s way 33
Prokopijević Miroslav, in his “Why Foreign Aid Fails”34 argues that Western foreign “aid as such is not only ineffective, (but) it is arguably counterproductive35 (…). Instead of promoting development, aid extends the life of bad institutions and those in power (…). For that reason, foreign aid will continue to be a waste of resources, probably serving some objectives different to those that are usually mentioned (…).”
Whereas (Western) aid programs tend to focus on supporting broader political and economic reforms attached to patronizing demands, China has proposed an alternative approach. China has proposed to invest in our empowerment (education, science, research…), in our infrastructures (communication tools, ports, airports, roads & bridges, schools, sports facilities…), and for our environmental protection (waste management, renewable energy systems). Such Chinese programs propose to increase our domestic production and/or to transform our ability to create sustainable economic growth and localized long term employment.
Whereas the dominant international aid norms controlled by the West “have mostly been a failure,36” ironically even under the “aid for reform37” principle, China’s propositions for “win-win” cooperation can only naturally and should arguably raise interest among Pacific islanders.
b) Teach a man to fish…
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In our exchanges, China’s proposition is to empower others by teaching them the skills so they acquire the ability to do things – not the “boomerang aid” where aid money to foreign countries ends up funding the donors’ companies and consultants rather than the people it is meant for38.
China’s approach has also always provided Pacific islanders with an opportunity to engage in a dialogue around the understanding that there’s a Pacific culture to preserve, a Pacific experience and even Pacific international perspective39.
For Pacific Islands, China proposes a different path: helping us complete and develop our own industrializations and evolve our own way of development40. It is never really just about “aid” but China emphasizes “cooperation”. Regardless how much aid one nation gets, the key is whether that nation can transform its resources, develop the ability and capacity to produce with them, while keeping such production sufficiently self-sustainable so that our environment can tolerate it.
This distinctively different Chinese approach to regional engagement poses acute challenges for traditional major power actors in the region who considers the region “theirs”. As one Australian Chinese foreign policy expert noted, “Attempts to resist and contain Chinese emergence would likely be unsuccessful and potentially divide countries in the region”41. But maybe such division could be the main intent on one side or the other, or on both. This should not deter Pacific islanders from shaping their own destiny and by resisting such attempts by the West to politicize diverse sources of foreign development assistance, and to deter the Pacific Islands from engaging in such programs as China has proposed. Our application of development aid should not become a zero-sum international political competition, and we Pacific islanders should not be regarded as naively susceptible to China’s political influence when their models and proposals show genuine promise for actually contributing to our own development goals.
3) STARTING TO QUESTION THE STATUS QUO
Humans think “historically”, that is, within a historical context. And in the last few decades, we Pacific islanders have been fed a very simple story about what’s going on in our world: any economy must be liberal and any political system democratic; and the combination of the two is the only way for societies to achieve fulfillment and economic success. In contrast to the widespread acceptance for the UN’s four internationally accepted categories of “universal” principles (Human Rights, Labour, Environment, and Anti-Corruption), the prevailing concepts behind world economic development and stability seem to have been more predicated on maintaining the status quo of G7 dominance42. So too even the so-called “universal values”43 for “good governance”44 might seem to Pacific islanders to support the continuation of the Major Powers’ asserting their rights to interfere in the sovereign rights of smaller nations, which rights are sometimes conflated with the essential role of foreign powers to ensure that such principals are respected45.
After our earlier experience of the Pacific having become an American lake within which there is an Australian patch46 and French Pacific power47, with testing grounds for all of them, how can we not resist the strong Western pressure to consider the Chinese development assistance programs as principally a Trojan Horse seeking Chinese influence in our internal affairs and becoming an “emerging threat to regional security”?
a. Double standards, loss of faith – “a government of the capital, by the capital, for the capital [that] shall not perish from the earth”
Then in 2008 came the US subprime crises, followed by a global financial one, exposing neoliberalism’s flaws by wiping out $19.2 trillion in U.S. household wealth. We learned that the credit rating agencies, so important and feared in our regions, had been bending under the pressures of banks and contributed in their own way to the global economic crisis48. Western values were seemingly imposing a “government of the capital, by the capital, for the capital [that] shall not perish from the earth”, while “China has been the largest contributor to world growth since the global financial crisis of 2008”49. Our regional economies, particularly those of Australia50 and New Zealand, were only sustained by Chinese demand.
On the environmental front, after the disappearance of our traditional way of life, when survival of our islands and population is threatened by climate change, America has more recently walked out of the Paris Accords. But we see that China is fulfilling its commitments through renewable and low-carbon development51, and is becoming the world’s leading country in electricity production from renewable energy sources.
On the poverty issue, most of us Pacific islanders feel that poverty alleviation must be the government’s priority, and we don’t believe in the sometime conservative arguments that a large impoverished substrata is somehow just a necessary byproduct of a more efficient, competitive capitalist model, or that poor people remain there for lack of their initiative and competitive training to shift to more productive sectors.. The contrasts are striking. On the one hand, there is the United States: a 2016 report by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality52 stated that the US had the lowest overall ranking on many poverty and inequality outcomes when compared with other well-to-do countries53. The 2018 United Nations report on poverty and inequality in the United States54 concluded that the US, one of the world’s richest nations and the ‘land of opportunity’, is fast becoming a champion of inequality” with about 40 million Americans who live in poverty, 18.5 million in extreme poverty, and 5.3 million live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty55. On the other hand, there is China: in the mid-1980s the Chinese government started systematic, mass poverty reduction and development efforts. The UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 shows that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in China fell by half from 61% in 1990 to below 30% in 2002, and on down to 4.2% in 2014, raising 800 million Chinese people from poverty56. The number of citizens China has raised from poverty accounts for 70% of the world’s total.
b. If only it had worked for the people of the free world…
But if only the western narrative had worked for us… From our perspective, the world development is today more unbalanced than ever before, with the average disparity for the GDPs among 193 countries increasing by 28%, and expected to continue expanding over the next five years57. Productivity growth rates in developed countries are less than 1%. Rich-poor inequalities keeps growing, with the wealthiest 1% possessing more wealth than the 99% of all other inhabitants of the planet; 8 people have as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity; 10 of the world’s largest groups have higher combined incomes than 180 countries combined58.
c. Double standards, loss of faith – Kingdom of Tonga
In 2013 the Tonga Government negotiated an aircraft from China to provide competition in domestic air services with a view to reduce the cost of domestic air services for the people of Tonga. The same year, the New Zealand owned & operated airline company withdrew from Tonga before the Chinese plane from China arrived, baling their decision on Tonga Government’s unfavourable attitude to their business and with the New Zealand government, a traditional donor for Tonga Tourism, suspending its committed aid to Tonga’s tourism “warning its citizens not to use the local carrier”, hurting the local economy “quite dramatically as a result”.59 The plane in Tonga has operated without any problems in the last 5 years.
d. Double standards, loss of faith – Solomon Islands
In 2016, the Solomon Islands government signed a contract with Huawei to build a 4,000km underwater cable connecting the Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea and Australia. The deal “so irritated Australia that its Department of Foreign Affairs offered to run a new tender and to pay for two-thirds of the link.”60
History will probably mark this decision as the end of Pacific islanders’ faith in Western “rule of law”61. Isn’t it ironic that after criticizing Huawei for having potential links with Chinese government, Australian government itself takes on the finance for this project? Isn’t it also ironic that an Australian Prime Minister can terminate a deal between two independent states and in the same breath make pointed comments about China’s need to follow the “rule of law” in the Asia Pacific62? Isn’t it ironic that an Australian Prime Minister, who previously expressed concern over foreign military presence in the region63, allocates funding for a new Australia Pacific Security College, targeting Pacific islanders at their leadership level64?
e. Double standards, loss of faith – Vanuatu
In April 2018, international media outlets started to appear, naming unnamed sources, regarding a possible Chinese military base in Pacific. Australia warning Vanuatu against any moves to allow a greater Chinese military presence in the Pacific nation, and analyst explaining that any move by China to build a military base in Vanuatu would be in line with its attempts to counter US power in the region and to allude to military threats and a shift in the strategic balance, “their” gain is “our” loss. The fact that multiple representatives of the Vanuatu government were at pains to deny the story, Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu even quoted as saying: “No-one in the Vanuatu Government has ever talked about a Chinese military base in Vanuatu of any sort”, the multiple Chinese government sources having denied the story and China’s assurance to the Australian government… seemed also useless, the statements such as “we would view with great concern the establishment of any foreign military bases in those Pacific island countries and neighbours of ours” being covered by the media outlets.
Weeks after the Australian Prime Minister warned China against building a military base in the South Pacific island nation, he announced “negotiations on a bilateral security treaty on common security interests, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime surveillance and border security, police and defense cooperation”. In the same time, Australia will help pay for a high-speed telecommunications cable from Sydney to Vanuatu65.
f. Strong vibrant oral culture vs Double standards
The Pacific region is rooted in a strong and vibrant oral culture, where words carry meaning, responsibilities and are to be used appropriately. These western double standards of talk or “double-speak” may sometimes be too complicated for us to interpret, but we are all acutely aware of the possibility of sanctions (as against Fiji) or the threat of regime change for the countries that do not play by the (western) so-called “rule of law.”
4) PACIFIC ISLANDS AND GLOBALIZATION
Globalization seems to have triggered intense competition, partly destructive of our cultures and civilization, and promoting social atomization and the rise of individualism– contrary to our communal traditions. re is the alternative for the Pacific Islands themselves to set up structures and institutions to manage development assistance from multilateral sources, including China. We Pacific islanders needn’t accept demands on us to belong exclusively to a closed club, nor do we seek to replace American hegemony with that of another country such as China. But we can become aware enough and resolved to break with a system considered moribund and to reject the zero-sum and Hobson choices presented to us. Our new resolve should stem from the awareness that the world is changing, and should reflect our objective need for more diversified, and less Western-dominated global economic development structures.
a. “Community of shared future”
We Pacific islanders need to incorporate changing currents in global thinking about the governance of international relations for economic development, and given the proposed Chinese “community of shared future”66 we need to transcend differences between nations and political systems, while focusing on the common expectations of our Pacific Island developing economies countries, even while conforming to the international community’s universal values… We share this concept promoted by China, whereby notions of community and neighborliness are promoted – and only the distance between neighbors changes. While recognizing differences between nations, stronger or bigger countries should not impose their bias on smaller countries; nations should strive for mutual trust and shared interests. China has persistently urged the equality of nations and pushed the notion that nations should develop common interests and mutual trust for further cooperation67. While always guarding our own sovereignty and cultural values, we should welcome their words and not be afraid or made to be afraid to allow such Chinese assistance programs to contribute to our development.
The marginal gains of globalization are dwindling, and growth needs a new impetus. And it should be in the interest of no other country that any of our Pacific Islands regresses, stops or collapses into a failed state68. Expanding our markets and increasing our purchasing power are in everyone’s interest. Globalization must be improved, become more inclusive and both benefit and rely on even smaller nations. Over a century ago, the beginning of globalization was controlled by Kings and Emperors; but globalization today is controlled by western companies and by mostly US rules. What if tomorrow globalization were no longer simply and only implemented by large transnational firms, US dollar and US compliance prerogative69, but by SMEs / SMIs around the world? This is what we feel to be the promise of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, the effects of which would not only redound to the benefit of China, but might serve to develop evolution in the Western countries’ approach to development assistance as well. Competition among those models can lead to improved economic results for our Pacific Islands, not just shifts in political influence.
b. Belt and Road Initiative
The “Chinese Belt and Road Initiative” draws on the belief that safe, effective and sustainable development methods arise when all countries have the ability to develop. It is also the most realistic and practical path toward our development. When we Pacific islanders seek to cooperate with such Chinese programs, we do so because we believe that only a diversity of development assistance predicated on all our countries developing together, can produce a better world and life for us.
The strongest ideal behind the Belt and Road Initiative – repeated by China at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and multilateral platforms – is to give a new design to international relations70, with a commitment to being guided by mutual respect, by the understanding of local customs and habitats, by fair and “win-win” cooperation, by just and equitable governance and by more balanced economic models, Thus at its very attractive rhetorical level, it representsan unbiased and inclusive development model advocating the building of a community of shared future and common prosperity in an open, inclusive and sustainable way.
This is a proposition the Pacific Islands should be ready and willing to consider.
1 “If you had come to our homes, we would have welcomed you with open arms. But you came here, to your home, and we do not know how to welcome you into your home.”
2 The cradle of the Polynesian ancestors, according to the current data of archaeology, linguistics, botany and science, has to be searched along the coastal cultures of the southeast Chinese continent.
3 The largest ocean in the world, 160 million square kilometers, 20,000 kilometers wide at the Ecuador, covers an area double that of the Atlantic.
4 The western debates concerning the settlement of Polynesia concentrated on the possibility, even the capacity, of the Polynesians to navigate – and then to return – on long maritime distances. In 1973, Michael R. Levision, after conducting thousands of tests, put a debate to an end proving that the settlement was intentional.
5 With 5 Polynesians, the author of this text organized and participated in 2010 in a experimental archaeology project, reconstructing a wooden traditional outrigger sailing canoe, and sailed from Tahiti, to Cook, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Philippines and China in 123 sailing days.
6 Professor Kenneth Pomeranz, Topik Steven, The World that Trade Created, Shanxi Normal University Press，2008, pg149-150.
7 Professor Kenneth Pomeranz, University of California, explained that annexing Hawaii was “of the sugar, for the sugar, by the sugar.”
8 Vasco Nunez de Balboa is the first European to set eyes on the Pacific Ocean, that he dubbed Mar del Sur (South Seas).
9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zheng_He. 1st voyage, 1405–1407 : Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Aru, Samudera, Lambri, Ceylon, Kollam, Cochin, Calicut : 2nd voyage, 1407–1409 : Champa, Java, Siam, Cochin, Ceylon, Calicut : 3rd voyage, 1409–1411 : Champa, Java, Malacca, Semudera, Ceylon, Quilon, Cochin, Calicut, Siam, Lambri, Kayal, Puttanpur ; 4th voyage, 1413–1415 : Champa, Kelantan, Pahang, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Semudera, Lambri, Ceylon, Cochin, Calicut, Kayal, Hormuz, Maldives, Mogadishu, Baraawe, Malindi, Aden, Muscat, Dhofar ; 5th voyage, 1417–1419 : Ryukyu, Champa, Pahang, Java, Malacca, Samudera, Lambri, Bengal, Ceylon, Sharwayn, Cochin, Calicut, Hormuz, Maldives, Aden, Mogadishu, Baraawe, the Lamu Islands, and Malindi ; 6th voyage, 1421–1422 : Champa, Bengal, Ceylon, Calicut, Cochin, Maldives, Hormuz, Djofar, Aden, Mogadishu, Baraawe ; 7th voyage, 1430–1433 : Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Semudera, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bengal, Ceylon, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, Ganbali (possibly Coimbatore), Bengal, Laccadive and Maldive Islands, Djofar, Lasa, Aden, Mecca, Mogadishu, Baraawe.
10 Idem. The fleet included: Chinese treasure ships” (宝船, B ( Chuán), used by the commander of the fleet and his deputies (nine-masted, about 127 metres (417 feet) long and 52 metres (171 feet) wide), according to later writers; Equine ships (馬船, M uChuán), carrying horses and tribute goods and repair material for the fleet (eight-masted, about 103 m (338 ft) long and 42 m (138 ft) wide); Supply ships (粮船, Liáng Chuán), containing staple for the crew (seven-masted, about 78 m (256 ft) long and 35 m (115 ft) wide) ; Troop transports (兵船, Bīng Chuán), six-masted, about 67 m (220 ft) long and 25 m (82 ft) wide; Fuchuan warships (福船, Fú Chuán), five-masted, about 50 m (160 ft) long; Patrol boats (坐船, Zuò Chuán), eight-oared, about 37 m (121 ft) long; Water tankers (水船, Shui Chuán), with 1 month’s supply of fresh water.
11 Matteo Ricci (6 October 1552 – 11 May 1610), Italian Jesuit priest and founding figures of the Jesuit China missions.
12 « Si tu étais venu chez nous, nous t’aurions accueilli à bras ouverts. Mais tu es venu ici chez toi, et on ne sait comment t’accueillir chez toi. » Tahitian Poet Henri Hiro (1944-1190) : If you had come to our homes, we would have welcomed you with open arms. But you came here to your home, and we do not know how to welcome you into your home.
13 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/48/chapter-8 :”Whenever any citizen of the United States discovers a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other government, and not occupied by the citizens of any other government, and takes peaceable possession thereof, and occupies the same, such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the President, be considered as appertaining to the United States.”
14 Japan administered them as Japanese territory and as part of the Japanese Empire. This situation continued even after Japan withdrew from the League of Nations in 1935 and lost its legal claim to administer the islands. Gruhl, Werner (2007). Imperial Japan’s World War Two, 1931–1945. Transaction Publishers.
15 Prior to German control, most of the territories were occupied by Spain.
16 “Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, former United Nations strategic-area trusteeship that was administered by the United States from 1947 to 1986. The territory consisted of more than 2,000 islands scattered over about 3,000,000 square miles (7,770,000 square km) of the tropical western Pacific Ocean, north of the Equator between latitudes 1° and 22° N and longitudes 130° and 172° E. Most of the islands are quite small, the total land area being only about 700 square miles (1,800 square km)».https://www.britannica.com/place/Trust-Territory-of-the-Pacific-Islands
17 “The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a sovereign nation. While the government is free to conduct its own foreign relations, it does so under the terms of the Compact. The United States has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands, and the Government of the Marshall Islands is obligated to refrain from taking actions that would be incompatible with these security and defense responsibilities. The United States and the Marshall Islands have full diplomatic relations. Marshallese citizens may work and study in the United States without a visa, and serve in the U.S. military. The U.S. Department of Defense, under the Military Use and Operating Rights Agreement, a subsidiary government-to-government agreement of the Compact, received permission to use parts of the lagoon and several islands on Kwajalein Atoll. The agreement allows the United States continued use of the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll missile test range until 2066 with an option until 2086. Another major subsidiary agreement of the original Compact provides for settlement of all claims arising from the U.S. nuclear tests conducted at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls from 1946 to 1958”. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26551.htm
18 “The Governments of FSM and the United States maintain deep ties and a cooperative relationship. Reflecting the strong legacy of trusteeship cooperation, over 25 U.S. federal agencies operate programs in the FSM. Under the Compact, the United States has full authority and responsibility for the defense and security of the FSM. This security relationship can be changed or terminated by mutual agreement. Also under the Compact, FSM citizens are allowed to live, work, and study in the United States without visas. FSM citizens volunteer to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces at approximately double the per capita rate of U.S. citizens, and are eligible for admission to U.S. Service Academies, though they cannot serve as commissioned officers as non-citizens. U.S. citizens can live and work freely in the FSM with no visa requirements”. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1839.htm
19 Following World War II, in 1947 under UN auspices as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the United States assumed administration of Palau. In 1982, Palau signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Palau gained its independence and established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1994, with the entry into force of the Compact, under which the U.S. remains responsible for Palau’s defense for 50 years. Palau is a sovereign nation and conducts its own foreign relations. The United States and Palau cooperate on a broad range of issues, including strengthening regional security, promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change, and protecting fisheries and the environment. Approximately 500 Palauans serve as volunteers in the U.S. armed forces, and Palau also has one of the highest levels of voting coincidence with the United States at the United Nations. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1840.htm
20 Andrew Korybko, “Remember Those Tiny Islands the U.S. Unilaterally Seized over a Century Ago?”, Aug 24, 2015, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201508211026031203-us-hypocrisy-pacific-islands-grab/ .
21 American geographer Neil Smith summarized the strategy as, “global economic access without colonies and was matched by a strategic vision of necessary military bases around the globe both to protect global economic interest and to restrain any future military belligerence.” Neil Smith, American Empire: Roosevelt’s Geographer and the Prelude to Globalization, University of California Press, 2003, p.349.
22 Mainly in Micronesia Islands and North Mariana Islands, Aleutian Islands, and Hawaii.
23 Wen Junxuan, The Map Speaks: who is in the center of the world, Citic Press Group, 2017, pg97-98
24 “In the South Pacific, the largest aid donors and countries that exert the most regional influence have traditionally been Australia and New Zealand, with Australia focusing more on Melanesia and New Zealand on Polynesia.” The Diplomat, What to Make of China in the South Pacific?, September 29, 2016, https://thediplomat.com/2016/09/what-to-make-of-china-in-the-south-pacific/
25 France: The Other Pacific Power, December 14, 2012, “(…) the French territories in the Pacific are slowly gaining more autonomy, which will force the United States to pay them greater attention” https://www.csis.org/analysis/france-other-pacific-power
26 Between 16 July 1945 and 23 September 1992, the United States maintained a program of vigorous nuclear testing, with the exception of a moratorium between November 1958 and September 1961. By official count, a total of 1,054 nuclear tests and two nuclear attacks were conducted, with over 100 of them taking place at sites in the Pacific Ocean, over 900 of them at the Nevada Test Site, and ten on miscellaneous sites in the United States (Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi, and New Mexico). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_of_the_United_States
27 It over-produced by 250% of expected yield.
28 Niu Baocheng, “A True Record of U.S. Nuclear Tests Destroying the Pacific Islands —- the nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. in Pacific Ocean,” Information on Publication, December 15, 2005
30 In March 1946, to ensure the nuclear test can initiate successfully, the U.S. navy transferred 170 local people from Bikini Atoll to Rongerik Atoll. Failing to adjust to local environment and being forcibly transferred multiple times, these local people stayed barely alive. Disregard the tremendous pain that was brought to the people, the U.S. navy gave each of them only 15 dollars as compensates. Similar story happened in Kwajalein Atoll, in which U.S. military expelled hundreds of local people to a small island sized only 0.12 square miles. Wayne David, American Oversea Military Bases, Xinhua Press, 2016, p.65-71
31 Crime contre l’humanité, http://www.lepoint.fr/societe/essais-nucleaires-polynesie-la-france-refute-un-crime-contre-l-humanite-09-08-2016-2059997_23.php
32 For instance, in Fiji, institutions like banks, insurance companies, sea transportation, communication, and oil are all controlled by foreign capitals. In Papua New Guinea, Australian, Japanese, British and American companies have controlled industries including manufacturing, mineral, agriculture, and fishing. “General Information about Pacific Nations and Organizations,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official Website, August 2017, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/gjhdq_676201/gj_676203/dyz_681240/ In French Polynesia, electrical production and water distribution our under French companies control.
33 The Western expert: “It might work in practice, yes… but in theory?” The Chinese expert: “Together, let’s make this work”.
35 As a sad example, Haiti. “Since 1990, the international community has allocated over $5 billion to this small country, yet Haiti remains a desperately impoverished “fragile” state”. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/capsule-review/2009-05-01/haiti-balance-why-foreign-aid-has-failed-and-what-we-can-do-about
36 “Helping Africa is a noble cause, but the campaign has become a theater of the absurd—the blind leading the clueless. The record of Western aid to Africa is one of abysmal failure. More than $500 billion in foreign aid—the equivalent of four Marshall Aid Plans—was pumped into Africa between 1960 and 1997. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/edb2.pdf
37 Aid for Reform: Foreign aid given to support reform in Africa has not been successful either. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: “Despite many years of policy reform, barely any country in the region has successfully completed its adjustment program with a return to sustained growth. Indeed, the path from adjustment to improved performance is, at best, a rough one and, at worst, disappointing dead-end. https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/edb2.pd
38 “Australia’s ‘boomerang aid’ slammed”. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-07-29/australias-boomerang-aid-slammed/1371360
39 As an example, the aquaculture farm project in Tahiti is a massive investment in capital and in Polynesian talent. From the start, 100% local aquaculture farmers, with an objective to achieve 90% of local technical staff in 10 years, with a massive study and formation program of young Polynesians in China and locally. All under the French Polynesian strict environmental and labor laws. A win-win situation, where the Chinese company invests, transfers technology, creates sustainable jobs and French Polynesia becomes more industrialized and creates exports.
40 In March 2013, while visiting Africa, Xi Jinping explained the two vital concept targeting developing countries: firstly, the nation needs to improve investment conditions, especially infrastructure, to attract foreign capital and expertise; secondly, the donor country needs to provide technical support for the beneficiary countries, so they can improve its ability to develop independently and build their own industrialization system.
41 China’s Role in the Pacific Islands Region, Jian Zhang. www.apcss.org
42 United States, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada.
43 However, the diversity of civilizations, cultures and traditions would spontaneously lead us to be relativistic, and the very term “value” implies a judgment.
44 In the nova language, this means the obligation of states to borrow from private banks and the outmost priority given to private sector development and competition.
45 But not realizing that any competing power would therefore be considered as a threat to global stability.
46 Australia’s former Prime Minister John Howard.
47 France: “in”, “of” or “from” the South Pacific region? “In the 1980s, amid regional controversy over France’s policies in South Pacific, a debate emerged around the idea of whether France was simply a sovereign presence “in” the region, or could also be seen as being “of” or “from” the region. It is an important question, as it goes to the heart of how France wants to be seen in the South Pacific region, and in the world. If France wants to remain “in” the Pacific, as is evident from recent official policy and statements, then the nature of its future effective presence will be shaped not only by its own perceptions, but by those of regional countries, about its status as part “of” the region. Whereas French policies in the South Pacific led to regional instabilities and even threatened regional security in the second half of the last century, in recent years France has been a useful western ally in the South Pacific. With new regional uncertainties, including new interest from China, by seeing itself as a country “of” the region, France may better be able to maintain an effective sovereign presence “in” the Pacific, at a time when it is addressing the future of its principal Pacific entities.” https://journals.openedition.org/jso/6702
48 One of the most well-known examples is the subprime crisis in 2007 and 2008. Credit rating agencies were punished for producing high ratings for those who actually had low ability to pay back. “Moody’s fined: Agency admits to false credit ratings,” Jan 16, 2017, https://www.enca.com/money/moodys-fined-agency-admits-to-false-credit-ratings
50 [Australia’s] national income grew as much as 13 percent in a single decade as a result of China’s resource-intensive construction boom, according to the Australian Reserve Bank How China Interferes in Australia And How Democracies Can Push Back, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2018-03-09/how-china-interferes-australia?cid=nlc-fa_fatoday-20180629
51 China’s carbon emissions declined by 6,6% in 2016, and another 4% in the first ¾ of 2017. New energies production grew 21% over the previous year. Press conference of the information office introduces 2017 annual report on China’s policies and actions on coping with climate change, November 14, 2017
54 “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to the United States of America” http://undocs.org/A/HRC/38/33/ADD.1
55 Jessica L. Semega, Kayla R. Fontenot and Melissa A. Kollar, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016 — Current Population Reports (United States Census Bureau, September 2017), pp. 12 and 17. Available at www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2017/demo/P60-259.pdf. See also Angus Deaton, “The U.S. can no longer hide from its deep poverty problem”, New York Times, 24 January 2018.
56 More than 800 million for the World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/china/overview ; 700 million in “China’s Progress in Poverty Reduction and Human Rights”. The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China October 2016. First Edition 2016. http://english.gov.cn/policies/latest_releases/2016/10/17/content_281475468533275.htm
57 IMF, World Economic Outlook, October 2017, 32
58 But some results are encouraging too: today, for the first time in history, more people die from eating too much than eating too little; more people commit suicide than they are killed by crime, terrorism and war combined… Statistically, the western system seems to have made you your worst enemy.
59 “How China’s gift of an aeroplane put Tonga, New Zealand at odds”, The Sydney Morning Herald, By Nick Perry, 25 June 2014
61 “Australian officials are clearly spooked. Last year the country’s spy chief, Nick Warner, persuaded the prime minister of the Solomon Islands to drop a deal with Huawei, a Chinese telecoms firm, to lay a subsea internet cable to Australia. Instead, the Australian government is financing the project itself. » https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/04/20/australia-is-edgy-about-chinas-growing-presence-on-its-doorstep
62 Turnbull said. “That rule of law is what we seek, and our policy seeks to maintain that in the region.” Macron mirrored Turnbull’s statements, saying enhanced cooperation between Australia and France is “nothing against China” and serves to “preserve rules-based development in the region, especially in the Indo-Pacific.”
63 “I have made the call before and I am making it again, that you (US) were here in World War Two and built your base here. I want you to reconsider returning to build your base here in Vanuatu again. (…) His invitation comes not long after reports appeared in the Australian media of an alleged plan to allow the Chinese to build a Chinese military base in Vanuatu”. President asks US for Military Base, By Len Garae, Jun 22, 2018, http://dailypost.vu/news/president-asks-us-for-military-base/article_baefa860-47ba-56eb-b003-97c7ea9c35ec.html
64 Dr. Anna Powles, of Massey University’s Centre for Defense and Security Studies, said that she understood the college would be concerned with issues like law enforcement, security issues and intelligence. https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/356977/blurring-of-australian-aid-to-pacific-raises-concern
65“Australia and Vanuatu to Negotiate Security Treaty” https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-06-24/australia-and-vanuatu-to-negotiate-security-treaty
66 China’s Vision for the World: A Community of Shared Future, China’s vision is based on three pillars: cooperative security, common development, and political inclusiveness. By Fu Ying ; June 22, 2017 https://thediplomat.com/2017/06/chinas-vision-for-the-world-a-community-of-shared-future/
67 In a speech given to the Parliament of Congo-Brazzaville, Xi Jinping argues that “All the countries should observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; uphold the principle of equality among
all nations, big or small, strong or weak, and rich or poor; respect the diversity of civilizations and paths for development in the world; promote the democratization of international relations and the progress of world civilization; and safeguard world peace and stability, and boost the common interests of mankind.” Xi Jinping, “Write a New Chapter of Friendship Between the Chinese and African people Together – A Speech Made to the Parliament of Congo-Brazzaville (March 29, 2013, Brazzaville),” People’s Daily, March 30, 2013.
68 The 2010 UN Human Development Index – which is a composite measure of health, education and income – ranked Libya 53rd in the world, and first in Africa. After the Nato intervention, in 2016 it was estimated ranked at 102, falling by another 2 points since the previous year. NATO’s intervention was “to protect the Libyan people”. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_71652.htm 69 Secretary Ross Announces $1.4 Billion ZTE Settlement; ZTE Board, Management Changes and Strictest BIS Compliance Requirements Ever https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2018/06/secretary-ross-announces-14-billion-zte-settlement-zte-board-management
70 « In describing the prominent contradictions of the global economy, [President XI] emphasized that improving the driving forces for growth, economic governance and development requires new models.” Forge ahead with major country diplomacy with Chinese features, Task Force of Institute of World Political Studies, CICIR, CIR May/June 2018 Vol 28. No 3