China and New Zealand foreign ministers spoke on a video call late on Monday and discussed China’s role in the Pacific region, the two countries confirmed in separate statements.
China’s growing influence in the region and the potential of militarisation has concerned New Zealand along with its allies. Their concerns increased after China and the Solomon Island’s signed a security pact earlier in the year.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta underlined the importance of engagement taking place in a manner that advances Pacific priorities, is supportive of Pacific regional institutions such as the Pacific Islands Forum, and addresses the significant challenges in the region, according to a statement from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his statement that Beijing respects the traditional ties between New Zealand and the Pacific island nations and wants to participate in more multi-party cooperation projects with New Zealand.
“The cooperation between China and Pacific island nations that China has diplomatic relations with can go hand in hand with existing arrangements in the region and complement one another,” Wang said in a statement.
Mahuta also voiced New Zealand’s views on sensitive issues, including human rights issues in Xinjiang, the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, according to MFAT.