Global Insight: China's presence in Pacific growing

The prospect of China establishing a military base in the South Pacific should not scare New Zealand in to marching in lockstep with Australia and the United States, Professor Patman warns.

China has increasing economic involvement in the South Pacific and there is speculation the growing super power will soon build a military base in the region, the University of Otago international relations specialist says.

But New Zealand has a slightly different view of China and the world from that of Australia and the United States. We should continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, Prof Patman says.

"I think part of the Pacific Reset is to counter the Chinese presence, but to do so in a way that is not seen as lining up in a sort of pro-Western alliance against China as a rising power,'' he says.


Goodness me. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we even hinted as being “pro-western”.
The more we can show that we have changed our ways, the better.

"We should continue to pursue an independent foreign policy", Prof Patman says. Difficult to do when our economy is so dependent on Chinese trade that we aren't able to comment, never mind critisise the actions of China's one party state. Add to that the growing sale of New Zealand's assets to Chinese business interests (water and farming to name but two) and the idea of New Zealand having an independent foreign policy is just that, an idea.


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