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太平洋不太平|《波涛汹涌》:为什么中国要在太平洋里撒钱?

2017-06-30 从余启 我与我们的世界 我与我们的世界

欢迎打开“我与我们的世界”,从此,让我们一起“纵览世界之风云变幻、洞察社会之脉搏律动、感受个体之生活命运、挖掘自然之点滴奥妙”。

我与我们的世界,既是一个“奋斗”的世界,也是一个“思考”的世界。奋而不思则罔,思而不奋则殆。这个世界,你大,它就大;你小,它就小。

欢迎通过上方公众号名称打开公众号“查看历史信息”来挖掘往期文章,因为,每期都能让你“走近”不一样的世界、带给你不一样的精彩


本期导读:南太平洋岛国是指分布在南太平洋的岛屿国家,南太平洋地区幅员辽阔,除澳大利亚和新西兰外,共有27个国家和地区,这些国家和地区由1万多个岛屿组成。这些岛屿分属美拉尼西亚、密克罗尼西亚、波利尼西亚三大群岛区,它们或大或小,宛如一颗颗璀璨的珍珠镶嵌在浩瀚蔚蓝的洋面上。


南太平洋岛国家或地区主要包括:帕劳、巴布亚新几内亚、北马里亚纳群岛、法属波利尼西亚、斐济、关岛、赫德岛和麦克唐纳群岛、基里巴斯、科科斯群岛、库克群岛、马绍尔群岛共和国、美国本土外小岛屿、美属萨摩亚、密克罗尼西亚、瑙鲁、纽埃、诺福克岛、皮特凯恩群岛、萨摩亚、圣诞岛、所罗门群岛、汤加、图瓦卢、托克劳、瓦利斯和富图纳、瓦努阿图、新喀里多尼亚。


南太平洋岛国是名副其实的袖珍国,它们国小人少,其陆地总面积仅55万平方公里,总人口为750多万。其中,巴布亚新几内亚面积最大,陆地面积为45.28万平方公里,人口730万;最小的国家瑙鲁,陆地面积仅21平方公里,人口约1.08万。


近日,有澳大利亚高官表示,中国援助大型基建给南太岛国带来不可持续债务负担,中国商务部发言人表示,基础设施投入大、回收期长,通常需要政府予以大力扶持,长期以来,中国政府在力所能及的范围内,为包括南太平洋岛国在内的广大发展中国家援建了大量基础设施,为受援国经济发展发挥了重要作用。


对与南太平洋利益攸关的各个大国来说,偌大的太平洋是否足够大?从现实来看,太平洋貌似并不够大,太平洋也并不太平,大国博弈,在太平洋里搞得波涛汹涌。来一起看看新西兰媒体的一篇报道。



Why China is splashing cash around in the Pacific

为什么中国要在太平洋里撒钱?


In downtown Nuku Alofa, a colossus is rising. From the water it dominates all. On the ground, it dwarfs the Tongan royal palace across the road and the central business district around it.

汤加王国首都努库阿洛法市中心,正在崛起一座巨型建筑。从城外水上望去,该巨型建筑鹤立鸡群。在城内市区,该巨型建筑也把一路之隔的汤加皇宫以及周边的中心商务区比了下去。


This three-storey Government building, named St George Palace, is being built by Chinese workers and funded by a NZ$20 million gift to Tonga from the People's Republic of China.

这座高三层的政府大楼名叫圣乔治宫,由中国出资2000万新西兰元(1新西兰元约合4.9613人民币元)向汤加援建,并由中国工人施工。


While it is grandly out of scale for the flat, low-level blocks around it, it retains a visual link to the town below through a bright red turret, similar to the 19th century royal palace of King Tupou V1.

从体格上来看,该巨型建筑与周边低矮的街区建筑极不相称,不过,从视觉上来看,该巨型建筑拥有一个亮红色的角楼,与汤加国王图普六世所居住的建于19世纪的皇宫有点相像,这多少赋予了该巨型建筑与汤加首都之间以某种联系。


The building will house the Ministry of Finance, the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

汤加财政部、首相府以及外交部都将入驻该巨型建筑。


It is the boldest reminder of the development funding pouring into Tonga, and its neighbours, from China as the Asian power seeks to win friends and influence people.


It is not the most expensive. Last month, China announced it would fund a NZ$35m stadium at Tonga High School to host the Pacific Games in 2019. China's Ambassador to Tonga He Huang Huaguang said it was the largest project so far between the two countries.

这栋建筑并不是耗资最高的。上个月,中国宣布,将提供3500万新西兰元的援助资金,在汤加高中建立体育馆,作为2019年太平洋运动会的主会场。


The Chinese Ministry of Commerce's International Economic Cooperation division will be responsible for co-ordinating the project.


At such ceremonies, the tone is reportedly mutually positive. However, tensions in the Tonga-China relationship are not far from the surface. The productivity of Chinese workers compared to their local counterparts led the Tongan PM Akilisi Pohiva to say last week that "the Chinese will take over the running of the country in a few years time, " news site Matangi Tonga reported. He had previously had to attend a joint public meeting with the Chinese embassy to address instances of racial abuse towards Chinese in Tonga

据媒体报道,各种庆典场合,气氛都很融洽。不过,双边关系的紧张方面,也没那么难以窥见。中国工人相比于汤加本地人的干劲儿,使得汤加首相上周曾表示,“过不了几年,中国人将掌控整个国家的运转。”之前,汤加首相曾与中国驻汤加大使一起参加一个公共活动,就在汤华人所遭受的屈辱事件进行研讨。


New Zealand, Australia, France, the US, UK and Japan have funded government projects and development schemes in our Pacific neighbours for decades. But the big name and big money in the Pacific Islands is China.


The increasing Chinese presence in Pacific nations closest to New Zealand has been evident for years. For example, in Samoa, Apia's National Hospital is a sprawling modern edifice paid for with a NZ$42m concessional loan from Beijing. Late last year, China signed a further agreement of Economic and Technical Cooperation in Apia, worth NZ$23m, to build a new police academy among other institutions.


St George Palace is being built with a $20 million gift from China. Photo: Tim Murphy


The Numbers

用数据说话


Chinese intentions in the Pacific Islands go beyond generosity for new buildings. 


So deep are China's pockets and so active its diplomats and development funders, the trend is again the focus of a think tank report, this time from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute(澳洲战略政策研究所).


Crowded and Complex, the changing geopolitics of the South Pacific(《大国涌入与复杂博弈:南太平洋地缘政治波涛汹涌》), made headlines a fortnight ago when it suggested the flow of no-strings-attached aid money from China could destabilise the neighbourhood.


The study quotes Lowy Institute research, which estimates China donated NZ$2.54 billion in aid to the region in the 10 years to 2016. The figure is substantial but way behind Australia, which puts enormous sums of aid into Papua New Guinea primarily.


The Australian Budget announcement last week that overseas development aid would be frozen for two years from 2018 has prompted further discussion there about the wisdom of doing less in real terms while China does more. Canberra will pump $1.17 billion in 2017/18 into the Pacific, with half of that to PNG.


China has funded 218 projects between 2006 and 2014 across the eight regional states that had diplomatic ties with Beijing, according to the Lowy survey. They cover agriculture, communications, education, energy, health, infrastructure, sanitation and humanitarian assistance.


The national totals included $190 million to Tonga, $255m to Samoa, $400m to Fiji, $55m to the Cook Islands and $270m to Vanuatu. Again the biggest recipient nation by far was Papua New Guinea with $700m.


Those are multi-year totals but as a comparison, New Zealand's 2015/16 aid budget had $22m for Tonga, $25m for Samoa, the Cooks and Vanuatu and $27m for PNG.


President Xi Jinping visited Fiji in 2014 as it reached out beyond the sanctions imposed by Australia and New Zealand, where he announced a 'strategic partnership' with South Pacific states.


A new Chinese interest

中国再现身拥有新目标


The ASPI analysis looks at a range of external players from Russia to Indonesia and India but its tone and focus is most influenced by China.


Its section on China says Chinese activity in the Pacific in the 1980s and 90s was driven by competition with Taiwan for diplomatic recognition, but this eased once a pro-unification government was elected in Taiwan in 2008.


Politically, China has had limited success influencing the Pacific Islands Forum, which includes New Zealand and Australia, the report notes. But it has focused on the Melanesian Spearhead Group and financed the group's secretariat and headquarters building in Vanuatu.


It lists examples of cultural diplomacy:

- Chinese TV programmes broadcast through the region

- Sponsoring Pasifika students into Mandarin lessons

- Granting 'approved destination status' to countries that recognise it, allowing Chinese tourists to travel to them


Major economic activities including fisheries, forestry, mining and oil exploration.


The report speculates China would want to keep access though the South Pacific waterways towards Antarctica, and it would welcome support from a bloc of small island states in international forums.


'China Threat Literature'

“中国威胁论”


"China's strategic interests in the region have focused on signals intelligence monitoring," the report says. "It built a satellite tracking station in Kiribati in 1997 which is reportedly used to spy on the US's Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defence Test Site.


"Chinese fishing fleets are also said to provide cover for signals intelligence monitoring.


"China has sought naval access to ports and maritime territories and there's speculation that it wants to establish a military presence in Fiji, fuelled by increasing military ties, including defence cooperation briefings."


Crowded and Complex says all of this activity has helped fuel a 'China threat' literature, which claims China could encourage Pacific states to shift allegiances from traditional external powers.  


If China, and Russia, Japan, Indonesia, and India were to win greater influence over Pacific governments, where would that leave Australia and New Zealand, long acting as strategic partners in the region?


The report says anxieties Australia had held about the Pacific during World War II and then during the Cold War 'are rightly resurfacing again'. "South Pacific states are increasingly engaging with external powers whose interests might be inimical to Australia's".


It notes in the age of President Trump, the United States might expect its ally Australia to continue bearing the responsibility "for ensuring stability and Western dominance in the South Pacific".


While examining Chinese involvement in the Pacific, the report acknowledges China has broad development programmes across the world and the South Pacific. Which, at less than 5 percent of China's aid, is not particularly strategically important.  


China's assistance is largely through concessional loans that offer an interest-free period then low rates for up to 20 years, and are mainly aimed at market access for Chinese firms.


While the Lowy Institute and Australian Strategic Policy Institute might fret about Chinese cash buying influence, Pacific leaders defend development aid from all donor nations and welcome Beijing's readiness to help.


A New Zealand Perspective

新西兰如何看


In New Zealand, one China expert is more sanguine about the rise of Chinese aid. Dr Jason Young, of the Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University, said to suggest the Chinese aid could lead to instability in the region seemed "really strong".


"There are some issues of how aid is delivered and the quality and whether the Pacific Island country actually needs these developments or whether money would be better spent on education or developing democracy and so on. But to say it is destabilising is going too far. It is probably more a reflection of Australia's own position, for example in relation to [its influence in] Papua New Guinea."


However, freezes or cuts to aid in Australia or the US could "actually enhance the types of issues this paper is talking about".


Dr Young said if he were a Pacific government leader he would see the o 48 31664 48 15288 0 0 2935 0 0:00:10 0:00:05 0:00:05 3043ption of Chinese money as positive. "I would take it but I would not take too much. Aid from New Zealand and Australia is different. China delivers a focus on other things. It provides the Pacific countries with a range of options."


"Having another actor is potentially positive."


The system of concessional loans involved debts in countries like Tonga and Samoa that New Zealand, for one, had expressed concern about. "They do them as soft loans. Can they be paid back? The answer is generally 'no'."


Still Dr Young said it was a long bow to link loans and any later debt forgiveness with a country supporting a donor like China in votes or on issues at international forums. "It is a really hard one to draw that link but the logical conclusion is that the more engagement and stronger the economic relationship, then there would be more of a tendency to listen to, if not support, certain political positions."


Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is a strong backer of Chinese finance. At last year's signing of the new assistance agreement he recalled Samoa was one of the first Pacific countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, in 1975, and said economic partnership between the two continued to strengthen.


Leaders believe they can work with both China and the previous major funders. 


And it is so, on the ground. Not far from the big St James Palace in Nuku'alofa, a major port extension and terminal is rising along Vuna Rd. It is to help cater for cruise ships, and is being funded by a cool NZ$35m in aid from ... Japan.



往期精彩:


遥望世界2050|《普华永道》:中国和印度,将领跑全球

通俄门|《华盛顿邮报》:奥巴马曾“密战”普京干预美国大选

中美关系|《外媒》:中国邀请特朗普女儿、女婿访华

俄欧情怨|《欧洲歌唱大赛》:去年激情满满,今年柔情绵绵

新书速递|《经济学人》:西方自由主义正迷茫于前路在何方

诗图一家|《在人间》:代际更替,循环往复,永无止境

新书速递|《男性之隐》:一百位男性受访者倾吐心声

中国故事|《世纪之变》:百年光影,忽闪而过,尽在不言


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