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Examining China Narratives in Pacific Island News Media - 2019 + 2022

posted on 2024-05-16, 22:08 authored by Mathew DoidgeMathew Doidge, Serena KellySerena Kelly

The Indo-Pacific context has gained increasing geopolitical focus over the last decade, and particularly over the last five years as powers such as the United States, Australia, the European Union (and three of its Member States – France, Germany and the Netherlands) have elaborated dedicated Indo-Pacific strategies. Underlying these has been a concern with the actions of China, defined through contested geopolitical narratives on its role as an actor in the region. While this contestation has been given some attention in academic literature, notably absent has been a consideration of the impact on regional states caught between these narrative tides, and particularly of the Pacific Island states (unsurprising, given the focus on the northern maritime arc that predominates in Indo-Pacific research). This article fills this gap through analysis of eight news media outlets (seven local and one regional) covering October–November 2019 and 2022, identifying the main narratives on China in Pacific media and their source, and examining the impact of these narratives on local Pacific reporting. It finds that, notwithstanding the preponderance of ‘Western’ narratives on China’s role in Pacific media through republication of external media reporting, this does not translate into influence over Pacific reporting. Instead, it is Chinese narratives on its role that have the greatest resonance.



  • Language, Social and Political Sciences


  • Te Kaupeka Toi Tangata | Faculty of Arts

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