Web Stories Wednesday, April 17

SYDNEY: New Zealand is facing the most unstable global environment in decades, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Friday (Apr 12), as he pledged to boost ties with the United States amid conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

“We cannot afford to sit back in splendid isolation in the South Pacific, pontificate smugly, and talk exclusively to those countries we agree with,” Peters said in a statement issued after his trip to the United States, Egypt and Europe.

“It is critical that we show up, listen to all perspectives, and enhance partnerships with our traditional friends, so that we can adapt to the complex global environment.”

Peters said New Zealand’s focus would remain closer to home as it works to build a more prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region, where the United States and China have been competing for influence.

Peters met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, DC on Friday and said they had pledged to work more closely together in the Pacific Islands region.

“The United States is one of our most important strategic partners in the Pacific, alongside Australia, Japan and European countries. We can achieve much more with and for the Pacific together than we can separately,” Peters said.

New Zealand and the US describe themselves as close strategic partners, and their relationship has become increasingly tight in the past couple of years due to mutual concerns about China’s presence in the Pacific.

The Pacific nation is also a member of the Five Eyes intelligence grouping, which includes Australia, the United States, Canada and Britain.

New Zealand would join the United States to financially support the region as it committed NZ$16.4 million (US$9.84 million) for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.

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