BLUFFor the first time, New Zealand openly identifies China as a serious threat to New Zealand's interests.
The New Zealand (NZ) Defence Assessment 2021 breaks new ground. It clearly states that China is NZ's adversary and strategic competitor. This article makes the following points:
- Regarding China, NZ's Defence Assessment has arrived at similar conclusions to Australia's 2020 Strategic Update.
- China allegedly maintains its political influence in the Solomon Islands by using politicians through a Chinese backed slush fund.
- Recent anti-Chinese riots in the Solomon's might have resulted from the Solomon's pro-China leader Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, favouring Chinese interests.
- NZ (and Australia) are concerned that sooner or later, China will station its military in the South Pacific.
- Local conflicts that threaten Chinese interests could provide China with a rationale for basing security forces in Pacific Island countries.
- Previously the Chinese government has preferred to evacuate Pacific Island ethnic Chinese to China.
- China wants to break the US island chain containment.
- Its long-term strategy is to realign South Pacific states to Chinese interests through trade and infrastructure.
- Chinese spy ships regularly enter NZ, Australia and France's New Caledonian exclusive economic zones.
- China has been accused of being behind several cyber-attacks against Pacific nations.
- New Zealand is trying to diversify trade away from China.
- NZ is also participating in joint allied manoeuvres in the South China Sea.
- New Zealand wants the US to be more engaged in the Pacific.
- Nov 2021 the Interpreter New Zealand: No longer Australia’s Pacific security partner?
- Dec 2021 the Diplomat New Zealand’s Conflicted China Strategy
- Dec 2021 Stuff New Zealand's position in South Pacific increasingly under threat, new defence report says