There’s been a spike in anti-Chinese fear mongering in the run-up to New Caledonia’s independence referendum later this year.
The leader of a powerful pro-unity party warned that the island nation would become a “colony of China” because it’s “too small to be secure if it becomes independent”, implying that the People’s Republic would ecologically ravage the country like it’s accused of doing to some parts of Africa in order to obtain unrestricted access to the quarter of the world’s total nickel deposits that are located there. This exaggerated narrative comes on the heels of the fake news scare last month that China was apparently setting up a naval base in nearby tiny Vanuatu that could theoretically allow it to sever the Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC) linking Australia with the US while simultaneously solidifying its growing influence in Oceania. Interestingly, just a few months before that at the end of last year, Australia implemented its own “foreign agents” law modelled off of the American one but motivated more by China than Russia, proving that there’s a clear pattern of anti-Chinese fear mongering evident in this part of the world.
It appears as though France is jumping on the bandwagon now that there’s a very real chance that one of its most strategic island holdings might become independent after the referendum on 4 November, and though Macron wisely refrained from directly involving himself in the heated debate over New Caledonia’s future during his recent trip to the region, he’s known to be in support of its continued union with his country. He boldly declared that “This new Paris-Delhi-Canberra axis is absolutely key for the region and our joint objectives in the Indian-Pacific region”, adding immediately afterwards that “this axis extends to Papeete to Noumea and across all our territories” in order to include French Polynesia and New Caledonia into this arrangement. France’s alliance with two of the four members of the “Quad” turns what is basically already the “Quint” through Vietnam’s de-facto participation into a six-sided “Chinese Containment Coalition” (CCC) that could colloquially be called the “Hex”.
This word also means “curse”, and that’s precisely what France and its allies are trying to cast on China through the use of fake news fear mongering to obstruct its regional progress in the South Pacific. The “Hex” wants to poison local minds through a sophisticated perception management campaign designed to make them think that the “communists are coming” and that their “dreaded future” as a supposed “neo-colonial” asset of China would be worse than their present existence as a an actual colonial one of France. Instead of becoming a core node linking China, Australia, and France together on the New Silk Road and adroitly “balancing” between them to its citizens’ benefit, New Caledonia is being pressured to reconsider its possible independence and settle for remaining a part of France forever, which thus far hasn’t yielded them any real benefits and is the reason why they’re contemplating splitting from it later this year.
Ironically, while France is trying to cast a “Hex” on China’s South Pacific plans, it might end up being New Caledonia that curses Paris’ if it ends up breaking free and disrupting the strategic axis that Macron bragged about during his recent trip to the region.