Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: New Zealand’s PM Urges Diplomacy With China Over Pacific Tensions

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said China’s increasingly assertive stance in the Pacific must be addressed through dialogue and diplomacy. “In the wake of the tensions we see rising, including in our Indo-Pacific region, diplomacy must become the strongest tool and de-escalation the loudest call,” Ardern said in a speech to the Lowy Institute Thursday in Sydney. “We won’t succeed, however, if those parties we seek to engage with are increasingly isolated and the region we inhabit becomes increasingly divided and polarized.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nz-ardern-urges-diplomacy-china-023039418.html) China, which is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, hit back, saying Ardern’s comments were “wrong” and “regrettable.” Australia and New Zealand were shocked by the signing of a security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China in April, a major diplomatic victory for Beijing and its first such deal in the Pacific. Ardern told a NATO summit last week that China was becoming more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms.

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