COVID-19 and geopolitics in the Pacific

COVID-19 and geopolitics in the Pacific

East Asia Forum·2020-04-04 17:00

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Authors: Anna Powles, Massey University and Jose Sousa-Santos, Victoria University

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific has several frontlines. In addition to health security, a geopolitical front has opened up: China and the contest for influence in the Pacific region. The Pacific is a contested arena between China and US allies such as Australia. It was inevitable that pandemic diplomacy would emerge as either a fault line or a site of cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. This could have long-lasting implications for Australia’s ‘Pacific step up’ and New Zealand’s ‘Pacific Reset’, as well as for the credibility of other regional actors such as the United States.

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