New Zealand’s absence from new military alliance “disappointing”: New Zealand opposition leader
Opposition Leader Judith Collins Says New Zealand Absence From New Trilateral Security Partnership AUKUS is “concerning” and leaves many questions for the Ardern government to answer.
“It is disappointing that after many years of New Zealand cooperation with our traditional allies, the current government appears to have been unable to participate in discussions for AUKUS,” the National Party leader said in a statement on September 16. . “This raises serious concerns about the interoperability of New Zealand Defense Force systems with our traditional allies in the future.
“New Zealand is not interested in the nuclear part of the new partnership, but the further integration of technology, artificial intelligence and information sharing as well as the science related to security and safety. defense, industrial bases and supply chains are areas in which we would traditionally be involved. , “she added.
“New Zealand’s firm stance on the absence of nuclear weapons should not have been an obstacle to our joining such a partnership. We could have been excluded from the nuclear aspect of the partnership.
AUKUS was announced on September 16 by US President Joe Biden and UK and Australian Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison at a joint virtual press conference from each of their capitals.
The new alliance will see the US and UK governments help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines amid continuing tensions with the Communist Party of China (CCP) in the region.
The move would also make Australia one of the only countries in the world to operate nuclear-powered submarines, despite ratifying the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
“We will launch an 18-month trilateral effort, which will involve teams – technical, strategic and naval teams – from the three countries to identify the optimal route for delivering this capability,” according to a joint statement from the three governments.
AUKUS will add an extra dimension to the existing arrangement of Five Eyes, which has been the primary intelligence-sharing network between Australia, UK, US, Canada and New Zealand – and recently been a platform for democratic allies to engage on issues related to the fight against the CCP.
AUKUS would also see cooperation in other areas, including cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and underwater capabilities.
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern welcomed the “increased engagement” of the United States and the United Kingdom.
But National Foreign Party spokesman Gerry Brownlee feared New Zealand was missing out on cybersecurity and intelligence talks.
“We need assurance that we are not excluded from the flow of information against terrorism,” he said in a statement.
“The government must tell the truth about what happened here. Does this new partnership affect our Five Eyes relationship? What about our relationship with Australia, the only country with which we have a close economic and defense partnership? And will this have an impact on our status as a responsible international citizen? ” he added.
“The government needs to explain why it appears New Zealand has been left out of the loop.”