Claim: US Climate Inaction is Driving Pacific Islands to Embrace China

China South Pacific Influence
China is winning influence in the Solomons, Vanuatu and Kiribati. Google Maps + The Strategist

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Strategist, Pacific Islanders are so upset about the USA’s failure to address climate change, they are switching their allegiance to China.

Inaction on climate change will undermine US engagement with Pacific islands

25 Nov 2019|Evan Karlik

Last year, China eyed a permanent presence in Vanuatu, wary of strategic encirclement by American and allied militaries, and eager to expand its own navy’s range and basing options.

And this September, in a celebrated coup for Beijing, Solomon Islands and Kiribati each switched their diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China. Of Taipei’s remaining 15 international partners, four are Pacific island states.

Commentators see the opening moves of a global chess game between China and the US, speak of island countries falling like dominos, or even evoke the 19th-century scramble for influence in central Asia by calling this emerging dynamic the ‘Pacific Great Game’.

But an obsessive focus on diplomatic poaching or military balancing overlooks the primary concern of islanders.

In a scathing Sydney Morning Herald op-ed, Reverend James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, made clear that in the Pacific’s fragile islands, ‘nothing worries us more than climate change’.

American diplomats should be thankful that similar acrimony hasn’t also been extended towards President Donald Trump—at least not yet.

Beijing, to its credit, recognises the value of environmental rhetoric. In coverage of a recent economic development summit in Samoa, the state-run Xinhua news agency touted China as ‘one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement’ and highlighted its pledge ‘to halt the rise in carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030’.

Omitted, of course, was China’s title as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and coal consumer, and that its carbon dioxide output grew by 4% during the first half of this year.

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The Strategist acknowledges the disconnect between China’s public statements on climate change, and their headlong race towards coal powered supremacy.

But is their suggestion that climate concern is driving the shift in allegiances plausible? Are Pacific Islanders really so naive they can’t see through China’s transparent climate hypocrisy?

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Bryan A
November 25, 2019 10:23 am

BLOCKQUOTE>Are Pacific Islanders really so naive they can’t see through China’s transparent climate hypocrisy?
Unless Hong Kong manages to sway the rest of China away from Communism and towards Capitalism, their new Island Partners will learn a valuable lesson.
I hope the lessons are learnt prior to much of the possible damage had occurred.
I wonder why China is aligning with a bunch of Pacific Island Nations if they are going to be under water in a matter of decades.???
Unless SLR predictions are fraudulent and BAU will have little effect.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 11:50 am

Many of these small island nations are basically up for sale to the highest bidder in regards to their votes in international organisations, primarily the UN.

This has nothing to do with climate change. Most likely reason for China to push this direction is for the UN votes and for favorable resource concessions (fishing, minerals, oil/had). They are passing hard into Africa to secure land to grow the food they will require. This is unlikely to end well for either the Chinese or the Africans (or maybe both).

Reply to  MarkH
November 25, 2019 12:28 pm

Thus far, when done in many other countries, it has worked very well for China. Not so well for the debtor nations.

Reply to  MarkH
November 25, 2019 2:48 pm

According to The Strategist, Pacific Islanders are so upset about the USA’s failure to cough up huge sums of money…….

Adam Gallon
Reply to  Latitude
November 25, 2019 11:47 pm


Reply to  MarkH
November 26, 2019 5:04 am

and tuvalu did an about face on chinas offer to make some nifty new islands by dredging
mighta been the pricetag?

funny seeing usa cop the same crap as they tried about Aus not being supportive enough green enugh just a few weeks back
ie gimme gimme more more

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 2:57 pm

Maybe they would like to have low cost energy, and the US is still glued to “CO2 BAD”. China will build them coal-fired generators, SMRs, gas-fired generators, etc. The US (and Europe) have removed themselves from that market.

Plus, like China, they can still claim to be going green. They just don’t have to do anything to implement ‘green’. Win-Win for them.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 7:09 pm

” … I wonder why China is aligning with a bunch of Pacific Island Nations if they are going to be under water in a matter of decades.??? Unless SLR predictions are fraudulent and BAU will have little effect. ”

“… We can rebuild him, we have the technology …” – The Six Billion Dollar Island

November 25, 2019 10:31 am

Follow the money.

a happy little debunker
Reply to  ResourceGuy
November 25, 2019 11:29 am

These Pacific Islands are trying it on with Australia as well.
It is not about climate change – but money.
Cargo cults are still alive and well.

November 25, 2019 10:41 am

We are becoming Bizarro World.. where right is wrong, up is down, wrong is right, smart is stupid and the biggest CO2 producer is the climate bellwether.

(But in reality, just follow the money.)

James Poulos
November 25, 2019 10:47 am

China has only demonstrated a capacity to build new islands…

Caligula Jones
November 25, 2019 10:53 am

The idea that China is gobbling up the poorer parts of the world is due to anything other than a power grab for power grab’s sake is another proof that there are too many non-journalists re-typing press releases from advocates and calling it “news”.

This isn’t news. This isn’t even close to any reality that it can be called “fake news”.

THIS is news:

which is why the MSM won’t touch it.

nw sage
Reply to  Caligula Jones
November 25, 2019 7:14 pm

Actually it is called colonialism. In the finest British Tradition.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  nw sage
November 26, 2019 6:48 am


Part of me wants to see China over-reach then have to deal with the inevitable anti-colonial backlash that will be no doubt supported by the generations of leftist agitators in our midst who have infested academia and the media…in other words: crickets.

M__ S__
November 25, 2019 10:53 am

I guess the bribes have nothing to do with China’s acceptance.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  M__ S__
November 25, 2019 1:09 pm

LOL; nothing at all, Oh look a girl in a small bikini.

Bryan A
Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
November 25, 2019 2:29 pm

a-toll her not to wear that

Larry Hamlin
November 25, 2019 11:10 am

Obviously these alleged actions by the leaders of these island groups had nothing to do with China’s climate policies.
China CO2 emissions are more than twice those of the U.S. and climbing ever higher as they implement an energy policy of priority on coal and other fossil fuels.
Sounds like the leaders of these island groups have the same disease as California politicians who continue to hype China as the states “partner” in “fighting climate change.”

November 25, 2019 11:22 am
michael hart
November 25, 2019 11:23 am

“Are Pacific Islanders really so naive they can’t see through China’s transparent climate hypocrisy?”

No, they are rather more cynical than that.

Remote, small, locations with potential geopolitical and military importance often exist on financial handouts from the great powers. The Pacific Islanders are smart enough to shop around and see if they can extract more cash than the US currently gives them.

Reply to  michael hart
November 25, 2019 12:16 pm

… and dumb enough to take the cash as an unrepayable loan which will in time deliver ownership of their islands to China.

Joel O'Bryan
November 25, 2019 11:30 am

China needs a series of naval bases and air fields on those islands in order to establish sea superiority and thus isolate and block Australia from the US Navy maintaining sea lane access.
Imperial Japan tried to take those islands with force for that purpose. China is obviously trying a different approach — buying them, and soon with BRI debt trap money.

Climate Scam is by far and away the biggest threat to the developing world, both for affordable energy, and also for their freedoms.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
November 25, 2019 2:30 pm

China would place bases there in an attempt to claim all the ocean between there and the mainland as Chinese territory.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 7:04 pm

It’s not just Australia and US verse China either, the French have significant South Pacific Island territories the Chinese are showing interest in.

The Brits are also a party to the “Five-Powers Defence Arrangements” agreement, plus have made a lot of noise about deploying an F-35B carrier to the South China Sea as a show of force (in conjunction with Allies).

That’s the three biggest powers in NATO involved.

Serge Wright
November 25, 2019 11:34 am

It’s all about the money. The greedy leaders in these small island nations see the $ billions of free cash and then find illogical excuses to try and silence their critics. In the next decade when they default on payments and the red army takes over it will be all too late

Ron Long
November 25, 2019 11:37 am

It is obvious, on many fronts, that China feels no obligation to fight fair. President Trump is working to even the trade balance and stop patent theft, and what does he get? Dictatorship style impeachment inquiry. China and Iran are odd fellows, but they’re both conducting business along the same lines.

William Astley
November 25, 2019 11:41 am

Parking the issue that there is unequivocal evidence humans are responsible for less than 5% of the recent rise is atmospheric CO2. Atmospheric CO2 is tracking temperature changes not anthropogenic CO2 emissions. There is no CAGW or AGW.

China is not going to help Solomon Islands fight climate change.

China believes in quid quo pro. China helps countries that have something that China wants.

Such as domination of water ways. Domination of a country’s industry. Large debits that a country cannot pay that will forced the sale of a country’s raw resources to pay for stupid projects.

These remote islands are low income regions that will likely always be low income regions.

Solomon Islands for example.
Population: 500,000 on 10 different islands.

Tourism number of visitors per year: 26,000

GDP of $600 per person. 75% of the Solomon are involved is subsistence agriculture.

Elizabeth II is the head of state.

Solomon has chaos government.

Solomon Islands governments are characterised by weak political parties (see List of political parties in Solomon Islands) and highly unstable parliamentary coalitions. They are subject to frequent votes of no confidence, leading to frequent changes in government leadership and cabinet appointments.

November 25, 2019 11:58 am

But… but… the US decreaded pollutants and China increased them.

How bottomlessly ignorant would you have to be to buy this line?

Seems like people are being sold a bill of goods at the cost of their countries.

November 25, 2019 12:07 pm

“US Climate Inaction is Driving Pacific Islands to Embrace China”


Pacific Islands playing the “embrace China card” to extract the “vulnerable small island states” climate change mucho dinero their failed and corrupt governments had thought was going to be flowing in.

November 25, 2019 12:26 pm

“But is their suggestion that climate concern is driving the shift in allegiances plausible? Are Pacific Islanders really so naive they can’t see through China’s transparent climate hypocrisy?”

Probably not. Follow the money, as usual. This will end badly for them but for those in the governments who take China’s cash up front and pocket it while creating debt to China which their nations won’t be able to repay.
China will eventually own them lock, stock and barrel when they can’t pay China back.

Reply to  KcTaz
November 25, 2019 7:13 pm

They can just default.

Jim Giordano
Reply to  WXcycles
November 26, 2019 12:55 am

Then the Chinese aircraft carriers come to collect…

Reply to  Jim Giordano
November 26, 2019 4:52 am

They have two carriers, and they’re diesel with no catapult, and have less firepower than a single USMC LHD, let alone an actual CVN carrier, or a French, Brit or Japanese carrier. That’s 2 carriers against about 30 far more powerful flat tops in allied service, and long-range tanker support for attack jets and bombers with antiship weapons. A PLAN fleet could do one thing – sink.

November 25, 2019 12:45 pm

The Chinese are more likely to be have an interest in access to their economic fishing zone. Madagascar sold such access for a considerable sum.

Pretty consistent Chinese strategies.

On the outer Barcoo
November 25, 2019 1:02 pm

The so-called leaders of these islands are clearly unfamiliar with Faustian bargains.

Bruce Cobb
November 25, 2019 1:06 pm

Yeah OK, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya, and don’t let the door hit ya. Don’t come crying back to us when things don’t work out. Bye.

November 25, 2019 1:07 pm

Being sceptical of no science and being sceptical of all science are two sides of the same counterfeit coin. Both are the stuff of fools.

The Pacific Islands grasping at Chinese coin is equally the stuff of fools. The coin may not be counterfeit, but the politics behind it most definitely are fake.

That said, my state, which is governed by my former political party, the Australian Labor Party, is to be hostage to the Belt and Road project. Thus, it would seem that the World has no impending shortage of fools…

November 25, 2019 1:21 pm

When do they get a Chinese naval base like the deal recently announced with Cambodia?

Robert W Turner
November 25, 2019 1:29 pm

Hopefully soon they can fill their islands with the “environmentally conscious” and friendly – never pushy – Chinese tourist. Good luck and have fun!

November 25, 2019 1:32 pm

China’s next move: internment camps for Gilbertese and Melanesians. They could all fit in just one. After all that hot, humid weather in the islands, the bitter cold winters of Xianjing will be a welcome change.

Reply to  stinkerp
November 25, 2019 3:09 pm

It’s now possible to schedule surgery for major organs transplants in China. Amazing how they know exactly when a compatible organ will be available.

November 25, 2019 1:38 pm

The only action they’re looking for are the billions of taxpayer dollars the UN has promised the US will hand over to them. Which won’t happen as long as Trump is president.

Linda Goodman
November 25, 2019 1:58 pm

Weren’t they previously receiving $$$ from American taxpayers? Isn’t that what it’s really about?

November 25, 2019 2:43 pm

No, China’s open and blatant bribery and extortion is driving corrupt government officials of Pacific Islands to embrace China.

November 25, 2019 2:46 pm

The islands of the Pacific will sell their votes at the UN or fishing zones to the highest bidder and will follow to the place from where the greatest amount of money is coming. This is a continuation of the Cargo Cult.

Steve Z
November 25, 2019 4:32 pm

If Pacific islands are inviting China to help them, it’s not because of climate change, when China is the world’s largest CO2 emitter. China might be offering them other incentives, such as selling them cheap goods produced by near-slave labor to be sold to tourists at a huge profit. The Chinese might also be looking for fishing rights around the islands.

Reply to  Steve Z
November 25, 2019 5:37 pm

Fishing rights. Yes. And a quasi-permanent naval presence!

Clarky of Oz
November 25, 2019 4:42 pm

Of course these island states have reason to fear climate change in the form of sea level rise.

Only need to look here:


Solomon Islands:


Data courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the list goes on.

What do they want the rest of the world to do. Cease air and ship transport to their islands and destroy their tourism industry? Cease diesel shipments that power their electricity generators?

Reply to  Clarky of Oz
November 25, 2019 5:57 pm

All they’re after is money. These countries are terribly poor. But they’re not dumb.
And they have heeded the great prophet Edenhoffer who spake thus, “We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

November 25, 2019 5:34 pm

China gives aid to these countries in a unique way. If a community asks for aid in the form of a school (for example), China gives them a fully-finished school – built by Chinese labour and materials. What China doesn’t give them Is money for a school – which could be siphoned-off into innumerable corrupt pockets.
Foreign aid (including US aid) to 3rd world countries must be one of the greatest drivers for corruption in those countries.
We have heard a lot recently (in connection with Ukraine/Trump/Biden) about the way US aid is made conditional upon the recipient ‘cleaning up their act’ in respect of corruption. Great idea – in theory. In practice, however, it doesn’t seem to work. The problem, I suspect, might be that this condition is applied preferentially/inconsistently – i.e. the anti-corruption rule is applied rigorously and harshly to a non-preferred government, and largely overlooked where the government is one that the US ‘likes’.

Michael Carter
November 25, 2019 6:33 pm

“The Japanese lost a total of 24,000 men killed in the Battle of Guadalcanal, while the Americans sustained 1,600 killed, 4,200 wounded, and several thousand dead from malaria and other tropical diseases.”

Add to this British colonial troop (my Dad was one of them) casualties who came in to mop up. Over recent years peace keeping police from the same source came in to stabilise the Solomons during riots.

Does it mean anything now? You betcha. There will be repercussions. I am not an Aussie but I know well that one should not pizz them off.


November 25, 2019 6:49 pm

“Claim: US Climate Inaction is Driving Pacific Islands to Embrace China”

“Truth: South Pacific Island Opportunism and Corruption is Driving an Embrace of China”


Craig from Oz
November 25, 2019 8:02 pm

China doesn’t believe in Climate anything.

China believes in China.

November 25, 2019 9:31 pm

“But is their suggestion that climate concern is driving the shift in allegiances plausible? Are Pacific Islanders really so naive they can’t see through China’s transparent climate hypocrisy? ”

You don’t get it, The Strategist is just a Washington lobby aping in Anti-Science Science bandwagon to pass a message.

November 25, 2019 10:13 pm

“But is their suggestion that climate concern is driving the shift in allegiances plausible?”

Of course it isn’t. The writer just can’t admit that the Chinese are smarter than the Americans and offer what look to be better deals.

Ian Hawthorn
November 25, 2019 11:06 pm

Money and corruption are much more likely motivators.

November 27, 2019 1:54 am

Can’t be about freedom, has be be about money.

December 2, 2019 1:36 pm

”Last year, China eyed a permanent presence in Vanuatu, wary of strategic encirclement by American and allied militaries, and eager to expand its own navy’s range and basing options.”…
A US naval base in Australia may cramp their style.

Rudolf Huber
December 5, 2019 1:02 pm

Oh, I guess the contrary is true. Every country that has enjoyed the embrace of the Red Ponzi for a little while wants to get out of its clam fangs. Once the debt trap has snapped, some countries won’t be able to reimburse China and the only protection from a raging dragon might be stationing some GI’s there. Many countries will woe the US in the future.

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