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08 November 2018


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Robert Forster

I think your analysis is accurate Chris. It is an irony, not lost on me, that as I move through the twilight of my own life the systems and politics that have dominated my existence are moving through a similar twilight of their own.

For many years now the Peoples Republic of China has silently eclipsed the United States as the world's number one economic power.

It is aided by a uniquely ruthless, and largely able, central administration and an ability to avoid unproductive global showboating while at the same time relentlessly expanding its influence, security,and wealth.

Its weakness is its huge population and relatively sparse natural resource. Its leaders know that if they cannot satisfy ever more urgent civil demand for more imported food and greater consumer wealth they could lose their own jobs - perhaps even their heads as well.

This being the case the always hungry, always anxious, always long-sighted,Peoples Republic will steadily and expertly continue to spread its resource catching net.

There is nowhere on the globe that can avoid it. For example China already owns the biggest meat processor in the US and has fingers in a number of mainly food supply pies that cover most countries in the European Union as well.

I see its interest in PNG as multi-fronted. It is undoubtedly appreciative of the strategic benefits of establishing a protective ring of vassal governments to create a SE Asian safe haven - and hopes PNG will be one of these.

It will be aware of PNG's thin population, huge land resource and largely untapped underground mineral wealth too.

The good news is that Beijing will do a lot to avoid outright confrontation. It would rather smile, and be persuasive, than argue. It prefers the velvet glove to the iron fist. The former is reflected in the gifts, and other comforts, that surround the imminent APEC conference.

Its long term interest in PNG is also confirmed by its readiness to educate, and cultivate, more Papua New Guineans within the boundaries of the Peoples Republic itself. Perhaps it hopes these will become pro-Chinese and eventually become leaders within PNG too?

The Peoples Republic is clever as well as patient. It will most definitely prefer to offer more ever more carrot than hint that it also carries a big stick.

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