Zhang Denghua

Research Fellow, Australian National University

Zhang Denghua is a research fellow at the Department of Pacific Affairs of the Australian National University. His research focuses on Chinese foreign policy, foreign aid and China-Pacific relations.

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) arrives at the convention center with Chief of Malvatumauri National Council Willie Plasua (second from left) after a meeting with the Vanuatu President Tallis Obed Moses in Vanuatu capital city of Port Vila on 1 June 2022. (Photo by ginny stein / AFP)

China gearing up for intense competition in the Pacific

China knows it needs to soften its tone as the US, Australia, New Zealand and others bristle at its interest in the Pacific island countries. The traditional powers are stepping up their game as well. But whether it likes it or not, the region will likely see greater power tussles as the strategic imperatives are simply too great for China to back off completely.