China’s Engagement with the Pacific Islands

Monday, November 6, 2023
12:00–1:00 pm HST | 5:00–6:00 pm EST
Hybrid Event: 258 Moore Hall or Online

Watch the Video:

How is China’s engagement with the Pacific Islands evolving, and how are the Pacific Islands engaging with China on their own terms? On Monday, November 6 at 12:00–1:00 pm HST, April Herlevi (Senior Research Scientist, Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, CNA) and Tarcisius Kabutaulaka (Associate Professor of Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa) joined Kristi Govella (Director, Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa) to discuss these questions.

April Herlevi is Senior Research Scientist in Indo-Pacific Security Affairs at CNA. She is an expert on the People’s Republic of China foreign and security policy, economic statecraft for technology acquisition, and the increasing role of PRC commercial, economic and military actors globally. She recently edited a report called “Charting a New Course for the Pacific Islands: Strategic Pathways for US-Micronesia Engagement.” She has also published research on port operations along China’s Maritime Silk Road, PLA views of Oceania, and China-Middle East relations. Prior to joining CNA, Herlevi served in the federal government, holding positions with the Department of Defense and US Agency for International Development. She holds a Ph.D. in international relations and comparative politics from the University of Virginia, a Master’s in public policy from George Mason University, and a B.A. in political science and economics from North Carolina State University. She reads and speaks Mandarin Chinese, which she studied at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou.

Tarcisius Kabutaulaka is Associate Professor in the Department of Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is a political scientist and has published extensively on the Solomon Islands civil unrest and the Australian-led regional intervention, the forestry industry in Solomon Islands, China in Oceania, and governance issues in the Pacific Islands. He joined the Center for Pacific Islands Studies in 2009 and served as director from August 2018 to July 2021. Prior to that, he worked as a Research Fellow at the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program and taught history and political science at the University of the South Pacific. He is the editor of the Pacific Islands Monograph Series (PIMS), the founding editor of Oceania Currents, and a member of the editorial board of The Contemporary Pacific. Kabutaulaka has done consultancy work for governments, regional and international organizations and NGOs in the Pacific Islands. In 2000, following two years of conflicts in Solomon Islands, he participated in the peace talks in Townsville, Australia, as one of the chief negotiators. Kabutaulaka comes from the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands. He holds a Ph.D. in political science and international relations from the Australian National University, as well as an M.A. in development studies and a B.A. in history and politics and languages and literatures from the University of the South Pacific.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Center for Chinese Studies, and Center for Pacific Islands Studies.