New Zealand, Australia, Pacific discussed on Between The Lines


Overdue, absolutely. And certainly welcome in some respects. What I would say here though is that there's a real danger that so much of what Australian was doing has again been cast through a national security lens. Of course, that's part of it. The region is changing. It is this greater contestation at play. But it's not the whole picture. And I think for Australia, the real worry, it should be that this is just another peak in our diplomatic interests that might weighing again over time. So I think the danger or the real issue at stake is can Australia play the game over the long haul. Can we build and develop Philly genuine long-term relationships that actually put specific island interests at the center of the discussion rather than what Australia wants to see in its own region? So I think there is some real challenges that play here over the next few years and unless we actually stay close to the long game. I think we'll be in danger of losing ground in the region. And New Zealand and a pals you'll base across the tasman tried with China seems to have been uninterrupted and like Australia. So how does the Ardern government differ in its approach to China, particularly in the Pacific region? Well, it actually doesn't. And it's been fairly clear the last couple of years with the release of a number of key government documents, most recently with the defense assessment, but also previously with strategic defense policy statement in 2018 that New Zealand has very strong concerns about China in the Pacific, the New Zealand foreign minister. And then I am a hooter, has publicly expressed concerns that Chinese investment in the Pacific is creating economic vulnerability and debt in the region. And this then relates to concerns about the point at which the economic coercion could potentially take place. And she's been very public in those concerns. But in terms of how that's informed New Zealand policy, what we have seen is similar to Australia, New Zealand, Australia had to step up in New Zealand had the recent. And New Zealand had subsequently then shifted towards a what they're referred to as a resilience approach, which is long-term economic development, genuine relationship building. All of those good things. But the question for New Zealand is still whether how New Zealand sustains that and for many Pacific leaders across the region that I have interviewed on this topic, their question has been very much this time. Is New Zealand and Australian interest in the Pacific, purely as a consequence of strategic competition with China. And this is not something that's new. They have seen strategic competition and great power games come and go in the region for a very long period of time. And so there is a degree of cynicism about how genuine this revitalized engagement actually is. Well, Anna, Caitlin, a lovely and important subject doesn't get enough attention. Thanks so much for being on radio national. Thank you, Tom. Great to be with you. Thanks, Tom. That's Anna pals. She's senior lecturer at the center for defense and security studies at messy university in New Zealand and Kaitlyn Byrne, director of the Griffith Asia institute in Brisbane. On ABC radio national, this is between the lines on Tom Switzer and in just a moment, historian Frank born joiner joins me to reflect on the pandemic and how it's changed us..

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