22 Jul 2009

China-Taiwan thaw alters Pacific aid approach

1:00 pm on 22 July 2009

A warming in relations between China and Taiwan is resulting in a decline in the so-called dollar diplomacy approach to aid in the Pacific.

That's the view of Fergus Hanson, the author of a paper entitled China: Stumbling Through the Pacific, which has been produced for the Australian-based think tank, the Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Mr Hanson says since President Ma took office in Taiwan last year there has been a drop-off in the competition between the two countries to try and buy the allegiance of Pacific states, which is good for the region.

"That's been very positive for the Pacific in the sense that we haven't had this tension that's been there for so many years. But it's still for China and Taiwan to break away from their old habits of pursuing the short term advantage towards developing a longer term engagement strategy with the region."

Mr Hanson says the countries should focus on longer term issues like development of education and health standards rather than one-off infrastructure projects.