The World Affairs Council of Charleston hosts six speaking events each year, three in each the spring and fall.  During those seasons, come to this page to find information about each upcoming speaker, and the date and time of the event.

Island Nation by Island Nation, Steadily, Significantly, China's Presence in the Pacific Region is Growing. Is This at U.S. Expense and Does it Matter?

December 11, 2019 at 5:15 PM 
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The Citadel Alumni Center
69 Hagood Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403
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Topic: "Island Nation by Island Nation, Steadily, Significantly, China's Presence in the Pacific Region is Growing. Is This at U.S. Expense and Does it Matter?" 

Speaker: Greg Poling of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington

Description: For years, China has been moving into the South China Sea. It builds up remote atolls, making them militarized outposts astride international shipping routes.  This policy understandably attracts a lot of attention. It is very alarming to neighboring South East Asian countries and very much to the U.S. Navy. More quietly, China is also making a major push to build up its physical presence, its political and economic influence, among island countries of the region, starting with the Philippines, but also the large number of Pacific island nations whose lack of development makes them vulnerable to enticements. Just a few weeks ago, a Chinese company closely aligned to Beijing signed a 75-year lease to take over an entire island in the Solomons, raising a lot of local trepidation about what it means. Analysts speak darkly of Beijing's long-term ambitions in the Pacific. Are Australia and New Zealand also in Beijing's line of vision?  

While many in Washington focus on conflict-ridden theaters, Greg Poling's attention is on key developments playing out in a vast, strategically important region where the U.S. has been the dominant influence since the end of World War II, and which is of vital importance to U.S. security. 

Mr. Poling is Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and Fellow with the Southeast Asia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. He oversees research on U.S. policy in the Asia Pacific with a special focus on the maritime domain and the countries of South East Asia, including the South China Sea.  he is widely published in major media, an author and co-author of numerous publications dealing with the issues cited above. He is a graduate of Sr. Mary's College in Maryland and received his MA from American University. He also studied at Fudan University in Shanghai.