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24 May 2018

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It was forecast before 2000 that 'The Next Century belongs to China'.

Really is nothing any other nation with possible exception of India can do about it.

Their massive population is undeniably their major weapon.

Even in sport. I was watching recent World Snooker Championship in Sheffield. Several Chinese players were involved.

The commentator told us that 'snooker is in some schools' syllabus and there are possibly hundreds of thousands playing the game.

Seems Oz has the geographic size but most of it is empty. Only answer - Back to bed!

Exactly Phil. That and a lack of oil reserves and raw materials.

The saving face thing works in relations between PNG and Australia too.

PNG politicians seem to be hyper-sensitive to criticism, to wit O'Neill now talking about 'false news'rather than accepting constructive criticism at face value.

That aside, if you remember that it was ultimately 'face' that caused the Pacific war it would be wise to take the Chinese ego seriously.

There is another very important issue in the obvious 'sabre rattling' that seems to be a continual background noise in our region.

Western concepts are sometimes able to overlook setbacks in their initiatives since that is often part of a negotiation and can therefore be expected.

Not so in the game of diplomacy if it is made public and there is a classic case of 'Loss of Face' in the Asian context. Denial of any desires for gain and expansion must be done behind closed doors and not aired in public.

The fact that the Chinese are saying they are surrounded by US bases is just not true. But it goes down well for public consumption. The USSR claimed the same circumstances when it was still an empirical power.

An accommodation of Chinese self determination needs to be mindful of the classic example of Chamberlain's 'Peace in our time' claim that Hitler considered just weakness in the opposition to his plans.

Australia and PNG need to find a way of resisting any overt or covert takeover without giving offence and yet conveying strong determination. Whether this can be done when the average person really isn't paying attention to world events is the real question.

Therein lies the responsibility of our leaders to keep their people properly informed while not giving offence to anyone. Some might say their scorecards are painfully short of notable success.

Clearly some in the recent news are now saying publically that unless we call a spade a spade we are not going to achieve anything but eventual capitulation.

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