New Pacific alliance PBP to counter China’s influence will likely grow to include more European nations, say analysts
Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) is made up of US, UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, with the latter two expected to spearhead cooperation efforts. Some experts say France is already interested despite anger over Aukus security pact; the new PBP will become ‘multilateral rather than minilateral’.
The latest initiative by the United States and its allies to counter China’s influence in the Pacific region is likely to expand to include more European partners to add to the United Kingdom’s involvement, analysts said. Australia and New Zealand are also likely to spearhead efforts in the newly-set up Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) as they have long provided help to the Pacific Island nations, experts added. Analysts also said that a multilateral effort in assisting the Pacific Islands might be seen as a better option than to have one single country, such as China, offering aid. Last Friday, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States announced the establishment of the PBP, an informal mechanism aimed at supporting prosperity, resilience, and security in the Pacific.
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Plus, Paris only found out about the new pact a few hours before the announcement was made public.
“There is an untrustworthy mood between the US-UK-Australia and France,” Nagao said, noting that as France is a core member of the European Union, the EU would also keep its distance from the new grouping.
However, Celine Pajon from the Center for Asian Studies at the French Institute of International Relations said France has been involved in PBP discussions since the beginning, is interested, and may officially join after thorough consultations with the Pacific nations.
Other partners would join as well so the PBP “looks more like a multilateral initiative rather than a minilateral one”.
> Read the full article on the South China Morning Post's website.