Collective effort needed to rebuff China’s advances in Pacific, says New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern
- Ardern said China’s presence in the area is not new, but Beijing’s recent propositions showed island nations should stick together to advance regional interests
- China last month reportedly sought a regional deal with at least 10 Pacific island nations on matters including policing, biometrics, and scholarships
She said China’s presence in the region was not new, but the giant country’s recent propositions showed island nations should stick together to advance regional interests.
“There is power in the collective. And in fact, we’ve in recent times asked for big conversations, like for instance, security arrangements, deal with us as a region … and as a Pacific voice,” Ardern told the Today show.
She also said she viewed New Zealand as a Pacific nation.
“The relationship for us is not a bilateral relationship. It’s a family relationship.”
Ardern was also asked about Australia’s 501 deportation policy.
She said the problem was not deportation generally, but extreme cases involving deportees sent to New Zealand after spending their formative years in Australia.
The 501 policy has been criticised for exacerbating New Zealand’s crime problems and for being inhumane to deportees who have no social ties in New Zealand.
Cost of living and inflation problems plaguing many nations were also discussed.
Ardern said multilateral efforts could help ease global supply chain problems.
The PM also urged Australians to cross the Tasman this ski season and encouraged skilled Aussies – such as those with construction or IT qualifications – to consider emigrating.
Ardern’s trip will conclude on Friday afternoon, with a brief media conference involving both prime ministers before Ardern returns home.