China and Timor-Leste have upgraded their relationship to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” (CSP), a move that could unsettle Australia. Timor-Leste’s inclusion in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and agreements on high-level military interactions signal a shift in alliances.
Timor-Leste aims to strengthen ties with China in agriculture, infrastructure, and energy, which could pose challenges to Australia’s influence in the region. The Greater Sunrise gas project, which Beijing might help finance, could alleviate Timor-Leste’s economic woes.
This development showcases Timor-Leste’s geostrategic leverage and pressures Australia to enhance its assistance. China’s pursuit of this CSP highlights its skill in cultivating relationships and addressing Timor-Leste’s grievances, emphasizing economic and social development. The historical context of Australia’s past actions in the region adds complexity to this diplomatic maneuver.