New Zealand is examining cooperation with AUKUS

New Zealand is examining cooperation with AUKUS

Neuzealand is considering cooperation with the trilateral AUKUS security alliance of the USA, Australia and Great Britain. Due to the strictly anti-nuclear policy of New Zealand but this would not affect the part of the pact that gives Australia access to nuclear-powered submarines, New Zealand Defense Minister Andrew Little confirmed on Tuesday.

Instead, it is about participating in the lesser-known second strand of cooperation, which enables the exchange of technologies that can be used militarily, such as in the fields of artificial intelligence and cyber security. New Zealand has been offered to talk about participating in this “second pillar” of the pact, Little said, according to Bloomberg news agency. “I have indicated that we are ready to explore this. It has not progressed further,” said the minister.

Earlier, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins had categorically ruled out that New Zealand would participate in the three-country pact’s submarine program. Under this program gets Australia the second country after Great Britain to have access to American technology for nuclear-powered submarines. Although nuclear weapons are explicitly not part of the security cooperation, the AUKUS alliance in the South Pacific has raised concerns about the possible proliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear weapons-grade material. For example, New Zealand and some other South Pacific island nations have expressed fears that the 1985 Rarotonga Treaty, which bans the testing, deployment, possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, could be watered down.

Criticism of the possible cooperation with AUKUS

Australia, which, like New Zealand, is a contracting party, has already dismissed these concerns. In addition, the government of the then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cautiously welcomed the AUKUS Pact when it was announced in September 2021. New Zealand already cooperates closely with the three alliance partners in the Anglo-Saxon secret service alliance “Five Eyes”. Nevertheless, criticism of the AUKUS plans has increased in New Zealand as well as in Australia itself. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark wrote on Twitter, a collaboration with AUCUS contradict New Zealand’s “independent foreign policy”.

Up until the 1980s, New Zealand also had close militaries with the ANZUS Pacific Pact USA and Australia collaborated. After New Zealand’s government declared the country a nuclear-free zone and banned nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships and submarines from entering its ports, it left the alliance. Australia and the USA had continued their cooperation under the same name alone.

Source link