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Drivers Behind the PRC's Port Investments: Cases in Darwin and Sri Lanka

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis analyzes Chinese investment in the Northern Territory Governments Port of Darwin in Australia and the Port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It examines whether security concerns or economic objectives are driving Chinese, Australian, and Sri Lankan behavior. Through a detailed analysis of available policy statements and economic data, the thesis explores what each state seeks to gain from port development. The thesis shows that the Peoples Republic of Chinas primary reason for obtaining port leases in Darwin and Hambantota is to facilitate international trade and the growth of its domestic economy. Sri Lanka and Australia also are principally motivated by economic goals. They both lack sufficient domestic funds to accomplish their own large-scale port development goals, with Darwin modernizing the port and in Hambantota building the port. Australia and Sri Lanka view Chinese companies as picking up the bill and aiding in domestic economic development. In the case of Sri Lanka, it also favors Chinese investment in Hambantota because it considers an increasing Chinese presence in South Asia to be a useful counterbalance to growing Indian power in the region.

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  • Government and Political Science

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