Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:16 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:16 | SYDNEY

Good news for the Pacific


Fergus Hanson


10 September 2008 10:37

There have been a few interesting things happening in the Pacific world in the last few days. Firstly, China is hosting a follow-up meeting to the first China-Pacific Islands Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Xiamen, China. Called the Investment, Trade and Tourism Ministerial Conference, it so far seems to have focused on the rapidly growing economic links between China and Pacific countries. According to this site, two-way trade may reach $US2 billion by 2008 and $3 billion by 2010. That's extraordinary growth and would likely put China just behind Australia as the region's top trade partner: in 2006, Australia-Pacific trade was $US3.9 billion. It's clearly good news for the Pacific.

News also emerged — during the China hosted forum — that Taiwan is set to release a White Paper on its approach to aid, with the aim of doing away with the image of 'dollar diplomacy'. This less confrontational approach would seem to fit with other signs of reconciliation between Taipei and Beijing we have seen recently, but would be a major shift in Taiwan's approach to aid giving. It would also presumably have to come with a tacit acceptance by China that it would not use the opportunity to muscle in on Taiwan's turf. Given the stakes for both China and Taiwan, that may be too much to hope for.