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 China's presence in the Pacific is growing. What does it look like on the ground?

 In 2019, Solomon Islands made international headlines when the country severed its decades-old alliance with Taiwan in exchange for a partnership with Beijing. This development has since been framed as another example of China’s inevitable capture of the region. But this downplays the internal drivers of the decision, and how Solomon Islanders themselves have shaped the switch and its aftermath.

In his new book Divided Isles, Edward Cavanough investigates the inside story of Solomon Islands’ China switch, telling the story of China’s growing regional presence through the experiences of those who are living it.

Traveling to some of the archipelago’s most remote corners, he identifies how the Switch was made and who influenced the decision; documents the emergence of a volatile new anti-China rebel group and its quest for an independent state of their own; charts the rise and fall of the country’s most prominent Beijing critic; details how Solomon Islands four-time prime minister Manasseh Sogavare skilfully leveraged global angst over China to emerge as his country’s most powerful post-independence leader; and speaks to the ordinary people whose lives have been upended by a decision that has changed their country – and region – forever.

We are delighted to welcome Ed Cavanough for a presentation of his new book with discussion chaired by Lau Chair of Chinese International Relations, Astrid Nordin. 

About the speaker

Ed Cavanough is a journalist and policy analyst from Australia. He has written for the Washington Post, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Sydney Morning Herald, and more, and has reported from over a dozen countries. He is CEO of the McKell Institute, an Australian policy think tank.

His first book is Divided Isles, an on-the-ground investigation of China’s new relationship with Solomon Islands.

Registration is required for all external attendees.

At this event

Professor Astrid Nordin

Lau Chair of Chinese International Relations

Event details

Council Room
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS