Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
New Zealand and Japan agreed Thursday to strengthen defense cooperation and initiate formal negotiations toward an information-sharing pact as the world faces “unprecedented challenges” from the Russia-Ukraine war.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the first time on Thursday since his election last year.
In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two leaders said they agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas like political ties, defense and security, as well as trade and economic growth.
They also agreed to commence negotiations on an information-sharing agreement to enable closer engagement on international security issues.
Ardern described Japan as one of New Zealand’s “most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region,” with which it shares common values and approaches to the challenges facing the region.
“Japan and New Zealand will work together to support economic recovery from COVID-19, combat climate change, promote peace and stability in our region and uphold the global rules-based order,” she said in a statement.
Kishida and Ardern strongly condemned Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine, saying it constituted “a serious threat” to the rules-based international order, with ramifications far beyond Europe and the Indo-Pacific region.
They demanded an immediate withdrawal of Moscow’s forces in Ukraine and vowed to continue implementing economic sanctions against Russia.
Their talks also covered the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has increased its military presence. The two leaders said they strongly opposed unilateral actions that seek to alter the status quo by force and escalate tensions in the disputed seas.
Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of resolving maritime disputes in accordance with international law, calling on relevant parties to adhere to the final and legally binding July 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea.
Kishida said that Japan and New Zealand “will not tolerate any attempts to alter the status quo by force and oppose them in the East and South China seas or any other regions,” Japan’s media Kyodo News reported.
Japan and New Zealand also pledged to cooperate in supporting the Pacific island nations’ security and resilience, and condemned North Korea’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons.
The meeting comes on the heels of the Solomon Islands and China officially signing a security treaty that will allow Beijing to station armed police and troops on the Pacific island.
On April 18, the United States convened a meeting with officials of Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, during which they expressed concerns about the Solomon-China deal. The White House said that Washington was concerned by the lack of transparency and “unspecified nature” of the agreement.
Does this not sound like Putin’s statements about NATO in Ukraine?
US & Australia threaten China with conflict: “We do not allow base – It is a red line” – “Signal” of confrontation from Beijing
The Pacific is on fire
The US-Australia and China are heading for a frontal confrontation in the Pacific. The Prime Minister of Australia clarified recently that “China will not be allowed to build a military base in the Solomon Islands”.
In addition, Scott Morrison stressed that this is a “red line” for both his country and the US-New Zealand.
“Red Line for USA-Australia-New Zealand”
“Australia will not allow a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands.
“The Chinese military base is a ‘red line’ for both the United States and Australia,” said Scott Morrison.
“This is a common concern, not only for Australia, but also for regional governments such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Working with our partners in New Zealand and, of course, in the United States, I share the same red line that the United States has on these issues.
“We will not have Chinese naval bases in our area on our doorstep. “
Morrison did not reveal how he would respond if he was re-elected and the “red line” was crossed and China did move to build a military base.
But as WarNews247 has already reported, there are two options: Bombing and invading the Solomon Islands or overthrowing the government.
Read about it HERE
“Bombing or regime change”: The first major Sino-US battle at the gates – 4 weeks deadline to prevent a “Cuba No. 2”
China will go to the end… – Chinese Foreign Minister warns
Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin responded to the Americans’ threats, saying:
“Beijing is committed to helping the Pacific island nation strengthen its capabilities to ensure its national security.
Noting that security cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands is open, transparent and comprehensive, Wang said that it works in parallel and complements existing bilateral and multilateral security cooperation mechanisms in the Solomon Islands.
Wang commented on the sudden visit of US Secretary of State A. Blinken and other high-ranking officials, saying:
China: Efforts in vain…
The US embassy in the Solomon Islands has reportedly been closed for 29 years. The most recent visit to the region was by a US Secretary of State in Fiji 37 years ago.
Now, suddenly, after so many years, American officials are visiting her en masse.
Are they worried about island countries or do they have other motives?
Any attempt to interfere and stop us will be in vain.
The Pacific island countries are not one’s “backyard”, let alone a pawn in a geopolitical confrontation. They have real needs in terms of diversifying their foreign policy and also have the right to choose their partners independently.
“There is no room in the Pacific island countries for deliberate escalation of tensions and the promotion of conflict blocs . “
Wang criticized the United States and other countries for defaming China, saying ” it would be more appropriate to label regional security disaster in those countries.”
Some countries, including the United States, have promoted the so-called “AUKUS”, a tripartite framework for security cooperation between Washington, London and Canberra that carries the risk of nuclear proliferation and a Cold War mentality in the South and South. “It seriously threatens security and stability in the region,” Wang added.
Russian & Chinese media: New conflict erupts between China and US
Russian and Chinese media make special reference to the new front that has emerged. They report features:
” A new front has opened up between the United States and China. Its focus is not on Taiwan or the disputed islands of East Asia, but on the Solomon Islands in Oceania, which have entered into a security agreement with Beijing.
This pact is of particular concern not only to neighboring Australia, but also to the United States.
After Australia failed to persuade the Solomon Islands not to sign the security agreement with China, senior US officials visited the island nation to try to revoke an already signed security pact.
White House’s Indo-Pacific coordinator Curt Campbell and a senior State Department official for Asia traveled to the Solomon Islands.
“US and Australia threaten”
Analysts predict that US and Australia may increase military cooperation and political investment in Solomon Islands and other South Pacific countries to counter growing Chinese influence, but history shows that US promises are often difficult. and such cooperation rarely brings real value, say the Global Times.
Campbell’s visit comes after Washington repeatedly warned the Solomon Islands about a security pact with China, and Australia made several threats under the guise of “concern” and sent high-ranking officials to the island nation.
Yang Honglian, a senior fellow at Fiji-based Pacific Islands Research Center at Liaocheng University, told the Global Times that in the Cold War mentality of the United States and its successors in Australia, the South Pacific is always considered a “backyard.” ». They believe that controlling island nations through military development can maintain their influence in the region, so they say Beijing will take the same step even if China does not conduct military operations in the region.
The signing of the security deal provoked a hysterical reaction from Washington after it saw Canberra fail to change China-Solomon Islands cooperation, said Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association for Australian Studies and director of the Center for Australian University Studies. Of China.
“Challenge against China”
The United States and its “agent” in the Asia-Pacific region – Australia – have repeatedly put pressure on the Solomon Islands.
“This is not only an interference in the internal affairs of the Solomon Islands, but also a challenge to Chinese diplomacy, ” Chen told the Global Times.
The expert noted that Washington sees the South Pacific as an important “stronghold” against China, as it seeks to further the Indo-Pacific strategy throughout the region and put pressure on Beijing for the South China Sea and the South China Sea.
“But we see that the Solomon Islands defended sovereignty, independence and the right to make their own decisions, displaying political wisdom and determination. “That’s why the United States is now sidelining Australia and intervening more directly in the region . “
Meanwhile, Solomon’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware is defending a security pact his government has signed with China. He told parliament that an agreement was needed with Beijing to address the country’s “internal security situation” .
The Pacific island nation has long struggled with political unrest, most recently in November 2021, when protesters targeted the capital Honiara and attempted to invade the prime minister’s residence.
The Australian Police Force has helped restore stability at the request of the government. Australia also led the 2003 multilateral mission after the violence and coup in the late 1990s.
The United States and New Zealand have also expressed concern that the deal could lead to China establishing a base in the Pacific.
Mark Harrison, a senior lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Tasmania, told Al Jazeera that the China-Solomon Islands deal was a “disaster” for Australia, whose relationship with Beijing had long been strained.
“China gains control of a chain of islands”
“This is another difficult step for Australia to re-evaluate its future in a Chinese-dominated region, ” Harrison said.
“Australia misjudged the impact of China’s rise in the early 2010s and the reassessment was slow and ambiguous and there is still a long way to go.”
The Solomon Islands, with a population of less than 700,000, are a chain of hundreds of islands located east of Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. The capital, Honiara, is located on Guadalcanal Island, the site of fierce fighting between US and Japanese forces during World War II.
Sogaware was re-elected Prime Minister in 2019 and a few months later decided to end the Solomon Islands’s long-standing diplomatic relationship with Taiwan in favor of Beijing.
Not everyone in the Solomon Islands liked the move, and Daniel Swintani, the prime minister of Malaita province, rejected the move, saying he would seek the independence of Malaita, the country’s largest province.