Beijing has announced that one leg of Xi's Silk Road (OBOR) initiative connects the South Pacific and other islands into the "maritime silkroad infrastructure initiative." Even the maps are beginning to show this leg:
Beijing has announced that this leg would pass through the Pacific Islands and terminate at Panama in Central America.
This Staff Research Report by the U.S. - China Economic and Review Commission was released June 14, 2018 and you can access the full report by clicking on the button below..
It notes in the Executive Summary that as China increases its economic engagement, Pacific Island countries may feel more beholden to Beijing and side with it at international fora. Finally, Beijing’s efforts to weaken Taiwan’s international space in the Pacific Islands—a region that is home to 6 of Taiwan’s 18 diplomatic partners—negatively impacts a key U.S. partner in the Indo-Pacific. Beijing has significantly bolstered its economic ties with the Pacific Islands. An examination of trade, investment, development assistance, and tourism data shows China has become one of the major players in the region, well ahead of the United States in most areas.
Some analysts are concerned China is trying to erode U.S. influence in the region to weaken the U.S. military presence and create an opening for Chinese military access. In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory near Guam in Micronesia, Chinese investors’ casino resort developments could complicate U.S. Department of Defense plans in CNMI for extensive training and exercises resulting from the recent relocation of Marines from Okinawa, Japan.
Download the full Report here