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Questions about politics, influence and control

Poulsbo-WA, USA

I read with interest Pesi's recent editorial on the dysfunction of government; the system does not work for a variety of reasons. I wonder how much of this is related to traditional socio-cultural issues. Also interesting was the recent article on Tongans educated in China. But from my foreign perspective, there appear to be immensely larger issues. This is potential Chinese economic and infrastructural control over Pacific entities. The recent visit to Tonga by the USA Deputy Assistant Secretary of State with a proposal to establish an embassy in Tonga, the efforts to establish a USA embassy in the Solomons, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, and USA diplomatic efforts elsewhere in the Pacific are an obvious and very belated effort to combat Chinese expansionism in the Pacific. The Solomon island pact with China and the refusal of the Solomons to allow a US Coast Guard fishing enforcement vessel to fuel and provision there several weeks ago there was also rather revealing.

What this has to do with Tonga and Tongan politics may be a question. The Chinese appear to "own" a great deal of Tonga through local businesses, a large embassy, debt, funding construction of GoT buildings, the Confucious Institute, the influence of money for some citizens, and educating Tongans in China.

It occurs to me that China likely has no real interest at all in 100,000 Tongan citizens. They most likely are very interested in Tonga's large EEZ, fisheries, two deep-water ports, deep sea minerals, and exerting their influence and control over large parts of the Pacific. I wonder how much all of this affects the Tongan political issues Pesi describes in his editorial.

Cheers, Richard Stoll