What is and how does China intervene in the Asia Pacific?

The Chinese Pacific is a big and complicated territory at the center of world politics and economy and home to many diverse cultures and communities.

What is and how does China intervene in the Asia Pacific?
People can be seen crossing a bridge in Taiwan. Image by falco from Pixabay

The Pacific Ocean, which is the biggest and deepest ocean in the world, is sometimes called the "Chinese Pacific". It is between Asia and Australia to the east and the Americas to the west. The Pacific Ocean is about 63,800,000 square miles in size, and it is home to many different kinds of marine life and ecosystems.

The Pacific Ocean is also an important economic and strategic area because it is home to many major shipping routes, fishing grounds, and natural resources. It is also a key area for military operations and has been the site of many important historical events, like World War II.

China has a big presence in the Pacific Ocean. It has several territories and other interests in the area. China is a major economic and military player in the Pacific region, and it has been involved in several territorial and resource disputes in the area. The Chinese Pacific is a large and complicated area that is at the center of world politics and economics and is home to many different cultures and communities.

China's long history in the Pacific

China has been in the Pacific region for a long time, and its presence in the area has changed over time. China's history in the Pacific has been a mix of cooperation and conflict, and the area has been very important to China's rise as a world power.

During the early modern period, China was an important trading partner for many countries in the Pacific, and its merchants and traders traveled all over the area. China also had a big effect on the culture of the Pacific. Many Pacific cultures took parts of Chinese religion, art, and architecture and made them their own.

China had less of a presence in the Pacific in the late 19th century and early 20th century because of problems at home and outside interference. During this time, China was weakened by internal wars and invasions from other countries, so it didn't have much power in the area.

As China changed its economy and government in the second half of the 20th century, its influence in the Pacific started to grow again. China became a major economic power and started to put a lot of money into building up infrastructure in the Pacific area. It also strengthened its military in the area and has become a major player in the politics of the area.

People who spoke Papuan and then Austronesian languages came to the Pacific Islands about 50,000 to 3,000 years ago as explorers, refugees, and settlers. They left their homes off the coast of Southeast China and moved south and east into the unknown seas of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. After these early trips to the Pacific, Austronesian-speaking Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as the Philippines and Micronesia, stayed connected by sea for thousands of years.

Even after the Austronesian people moved away, the coastal communities of southeastern China kept their focus on the sea. Modern China was brought together by the political and military power in the rich agricultural plains of the interior. The southeast, on the other hand, resisted its political powers until the 16th century and remained a place where pirates, smugglers, and other illegal activities took place well into the modern era. After the emperors in Beijing united the north and south, China's naval and commercial focus stayed on the coasts of East Asia or moved toward the southeast. The Chinese called the Pacific Ocean the "Eastern Ocean," and it was still mostly unexplored and avoided.

There are, however, hints that people from the Pacific coasts to the east knew something. Traditions say that there are three coasts in the east that are full of gold, silver, jade, and a herb that helps people live longer but can't be named. These stories show that the early Chinese emperors sent big expeditions with thousands of people to look for these lands, but they never found them.

Also mentioned is a Polynesian (most likely Hawaiian) expedition in which Hawai'i Loa's ancestor "found and recruited people with slanting eyes"

Before Europeans came, Mesoamerican and Amerindian stories from the west coast of the United States don't talk about any big trips from the west. It's possible that these stories would have been better if the people who wrote them had learned more about the Americas through trade with the Spanish in Manila, which was the farthest point east on their trade routes.

From the end of the 16th century until the U.S. Army took over in 1900, the Spanish were in charge of most of the Philippines. Manila was a gateway to China for Chinese traders, who eventually married locals and formed a mestizo elite that carved out a place for itself in the colonial order and ruled politics in the Philippines after it was taken over by the Americans.

Filipino Chinese people worked on galleons that went between Spanish Manila and the Spanish colony of the Mariana Islands or across the Pacific to the port of Acapulco. When they came back with Chinese goods after selling precious metals from the Americas to a mostly Chinese market, the number of Filipino Chinese people who worked on these ships is unknown.

Most of the "Spanish" troops in the Philippines and the rest of the western Pacific and Southeast Asia were Latin American and Filipino mestizos. Some Filipino Chinese mestizos were also part of the "Spanish" army. Filipino and Chinese crew members who were hired in Manila and listed in ship inventories as "Manila men" were in Acapulco in the 16th century as part of a trans-Pacific trade route that carried minerals from the United States to trade for goods from China.

But Filipinos didn't just come as ship's crew. Some stayed as day laborers or even business owners. There are still signs of these early encounters with the Filipinos in Mexico, such as tuba, a fermented coconut punch, and fruits like mangoes and rambutans. Likewise, Filipinos have taken on parts of Mexican culture, like the words balsa and chocolate.

As trade and whaling grew in the 18th and 19th centuries, British, French, and American ships became more powerful in the Pacific. It's likely that the number of Chinese people on these ships' crews has been understated. These ships went to the southeast Pacific to find sandalwood and sea cucumbers for the Chinese market. In the mid-1840s, the first Chinese settlers arrived in the New Hebrides and New Caledonia.

The first Chinese people to live on the Pacific Islands for a long time were called huashang (traders). Most of these small communities are still there today because people who lived there before married people who moved there later. The same thing didn't happen in the Cook Islands and Kiribati, where the few Chinese traders who lived there married local women and had children who didn't put a lot of emphasis on being Chinese, though some still speak Chinese today.

In the second half of the 19th century, the Haugong, Chinese slaves, arrived soon after. The colonial government brought them to Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, as well as to German New Guinea, German Samoa, and German-controlled Nauru and Banaba.

Those who went to Tahiti were hakka Chinese from Hong Kong and Shantou. Chinese workers in New Guinea came from Singapore, Macao, and Shantou, and they were probably both hakka and Cantonese.

Cantonese people from Macau and Hong Kong worked in Nauru, Banaba, and Samoa. Those who stayed after their contracts were up worked in small family businesses like retail, gardening, and technical services. These businesses were funded by savings that were put toward family businesses.

Chinese communities grew or got bigger in French Polynesia, Western Samoa, Fiji, the New Hebrides, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea in the 20th century. During World War II, Japanese expansion caused a lot of trouble for Chinese communities on Nauru, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. These communities were invaded, occupied, or forced to leave, while Chinese communities on Allied-occupied islands benefited from the lack of fighting and trade opportunities to supply millions of soldiers. The flow of Chinese people stopped until 1960, and then it started to rise again. The flow of hauyi to the Pacific islands was caused by the growth of its economy over the last 20 years.

China's current presence in the Pacific

China is a major player in the Pacific region, both economically and militarily. It has several territories and interests in the area. China has been involved in the Pacific for a long time, and its role in the area has grown in recent years as it has become a major economic power around the world.

China is an important trading partner for many countries in the Pacific area from an economic point of view, and it has put a lot of money into infrastructure projects like ports, roads, and bridges. China is also a big source of foreign aid for many countries in the Pacific. It has helped with projects like healthcare, education, and relief after a natural disaster.

In the past few years, China has put more military forces in the Pacific, especially in the South China Sea. China has made several artificial islands in the South China Sea and puts military bases on them. This has caused tensions with other countries in the area that have territorial claims that are different from China's. China has also made improvements to its navy in the Pacific and held military drills in the area.

China's presence in the Pacific is both a source of cooperation and tension. As China has become a global economic and military power, the region has become more and more important to the country.

The future in the Pacific

It is hard to say what will happen in the Pacific region in the future because it is a complex and changing area that is affected by many different things. But in the coming years, the region is likely to be shaped by several issues and trends.

The rise of China's economic and political power is an important trend in the Pacific. China has become an important economic power and has put a lot of money into building infrastructure in the area. It has also put more military forces in the Pacific, especially in the South China Sea. This has caused tensions with other countries in the area. China's growing power in the Pacific is likely to continue to bring both peace and conflict to the area.

Changes in the climate are another important trend in the Pacific. The effects of climate change, like rising sea levels and more frequent and severe natural disasters, are especially bad in the Pacific. These effects are likely to have big effects on the people and ecosystems in the area, and they will need everyone to work together to fix them.

The future of the Pacific is likely to be shaped by a mix of economic, political, and environmental factors, and it will be important for the countries in the region to work together to deal with the problems and opportunities they face.

Sources: Revista de la Universidad