Australian news, and some related international items

Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s no-nuclear line on AUKUS subs met with ‘understanding and appreciation’ in Australia

ABC NEWS, 7 July 22, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reaffirmed her country’s long-standing policy of not allowing nuclear-powered vessels in its waters, saying the rule was well understood in Australia.

Key points:

  • Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will continue to take a “strong, principled position” on its nuclear-free zone
  • New Zealand banned ships with nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels in its waters in 1987
  • Ms Ardern says New Zealand’s defence policy would remain focused on the Pacific 

Asked by 7.30 host Sarah Ferguson if there were “any circumstances” in which an Australian nuclear-propelled submarine might dock in a New Zealand port in the future, Ms Ardern said the policy was set.

“But, actually, you know, I’ve only ever encountered understanding and appreciation of that position,” she said.

“We’ve taken a strong, principled position and we’ll continue to do so. That doesn’t change the relationship we have with Australia or their understanding of our position.”

Ms Ardern has been in Australia this week for her second meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as well as meetings with state premiers………………………………….

A question of neutrality

Ms Ardern was also asked about a recent security pact struck between Solomon Islands and China, which some analysts warn could provide a pretext for the basing of Chinese troops or vessels in the Pacific Island nation.

The Solomon Islands government has repeatedly ruled out a military base.

…….. “We believe that escalation in our region and a militarisation in our region is not necessary, not called for, and not wanted. So we’re very clear on that.”

Asked if New Zealand would join Australia in increasing its defence capability in response to China’s military expansion, Ms Ardern said it was up to Australia to explain its own rationale for its defence strategy.

New Zealand’s defence policy would remain “Pacific-focused”, she said………………..

“It is not for New Zealand, or Australia, to dictate the relationships that Pacific Island neighbours have with others.”

She said China pursuing closer ties with Pacific Island nations was not a new phenomenon and that Solomon Islands had been on a “trajectory” of closer links with Beijing over a “number of years”.

July 9, 2022 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international

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