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Pacific Islands Society

PO Box 632 | Ebensburg, PA 15931 | USA


843.271.6891 ph pacificislandssociety.org web
Domestic Non-Profit Organization
New Zealand: In Search of
Security in the Asia-Pacific
Guest: Mike Moore
Published: September 27, 2011

Does New Zealand view the existing Asia-Pacific
security architecture including the Five Power
Defence Arrangements (FPDA), ASEAN Regional
Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers
Meeting-Plus (ADMM+), and East Asia Summit
(EAS) as sufficient for promoting its security
interests, or does a new regional security
architecture need to be developed?

Given the diversity of the region, and the points of
friction that emerge from time to time, but also the
absence of anything that might resemble a Cold
War stand-off in the Asia-Pacific, what exists by way
of multilateral regional forums (ASEAN, ARF, EAS)
remains the practicable way to proceed. In the eyes
of many experts, New Zealand faces an increasingly
uncertain strategic outlook over the next 25 years.

Is the FPDA still a relevant organization for
promoting peace and stability and New Zealands
national interests in Asia-Pacific, or is it losing
its raison dtre?

FPDA allows New Zealand to retain links to some
traditional partners in terms of defence ties. Its the
case that FPDA was a successor to arrangements
for Malaya/Malaysia during the Cold War, and could
be seen as an outgrowth of concerns around the
Malayan/Malaysian emergency. Clearly, the
environment has changed markedly. But it remains
an important point of contact for training and
interoperability which the members of FPDA
continue to find value in. Significantly, we have
worked with other FPDA members in a number of
peacekeeping contexts. In sum, we wouldnt say
that FPDA is losing is raison dtre given the
evolution of the arrangements.

How important is New Zealands voice in ARF,
EAS, and ADMM+ to the countrys national
interests?

New Zealand has been a dialogue partner with
ASEAN for a number of decades, and has been an
enthusiastic participant in ASEAN derived
institutions ARF, EAS, ADMM+. Regional forums of
this kind offer a chance for the countries of the Asia-
Pacific to engage in confidence building measures.
These diplomatic communities allow countries of the
region to work through a range of political, security,
economic and environmental issues. We see these
sorts of arrangements as appropriate to a region
where theres a widespread mutual desire to
achieve stability and prosperity, but often between
countries of very different political make-up and
orientation. We put a lot of importance on our
attendance and participation at these forums.

Is New Zealand well positioned to meet the
security challenges of the South Pacific today?

The South Pacific region poses security challenges
that might be primarily defined as non-traditional in
popular parlance, although some of these
challenges have been around for a long time. The
relatively lightly populated Pacific island states
cover a large area of the overall global surface area,
which raises for these countries issues around
maritime EEZ protection. Overfishing by fleets from
the northern Pacific has been a particular problem in
some instances.

Environmental issues also loom large, with fears that
sea rises will overwhelm some of the atoll states.
New Zealand is also keen to assist Pacific island
states to find sources of green energy in order to
shift away from the use of fossil fuels for this
purpose. South Pacific states are very vulnerable to
even small environmental changes. Sustainable
development in Pacific island countries is another
challenge, and New Zealand has worked hard over
the long term alongside these countries to provide
public goods, good governance and working
economies.
Interviews

Pacific Islands Society | Interviews | September 27, 2011
Is New Zealand well positioned to meet the
security challenges of the South Pacific today?

The South Pacific region poses security challenges
that might be primarily defined as non-traditional in
popular parlance, although some of these
challenges have been around for a long time. The
relatively lightly populated Pacific island states
cover a large area of the overall global surface area,
which raises for these countries issues around
maritime EEZ protection. Overfishing by fleets from
the northern Pacific has been a particular problem
in some instances.

Environmental issues also loom large, with fears that
sea rises will overwhelm some of the atoll states.
New Zealand is also keen to assist Pacific island
states to find sources of green energy in order to
shift away from the use of fossil fuels for this
purpose. South Pacific states are very vulnerable to
even small environmental changes. Sustainable
development in Pacific island countries is another
challenge, and New Zealand has worked hard over
the long term alongside these countries to provide
public goods, good governance and working
economies.

Given the wide range of non-traditional and
traditional security challenges facing the region,
how much will New Zealand need to rely on
others to support its leadership role in the
Pacific?

We dont currently see any major power
competition, or conflict between states, that would
constitute a traditional security threat in South
Pacific. Nor do we foresee any future circumstances
that would cause this to occur. It seems unlikely that
extra-regional powers would attempt to acquire a
series of military bases throughout the region. But in
terms of internal stability in the region, we welcome
the participation of a number of countries that can
play a constructive role. Obviously, Australia, the
UK, France and the United States are amongst
those who we might think of as traditional actors in
the South Pacific, alongside New Zealand. Weve
seen the emergence of countries in Asia playing a
role; Japan has been engaged with the region for a
long time, but increasingly China is providing
assistance. We are keen to work with all aid donors
in the South Pacific to ensure that the aid is
appropriate for development needs. We see the
involvement of external actors as a welcome
supplement to the regions prospects.
In follow-up to that point, how has Chinas
increased diplomatic and military assertiveness
impacted New Zealand's strategic outlook? And
the United States decline as a global hegemonic
power?

The increasing diplomatic, security and economic
role that China is playing in our region is a key
consideration in our strategic outlook. Weve
successfully pursued a positive relationship with
China, and remain the first and only developed
economy to have a comprehensive Free Trade
Agreement with that country. China has an
important role to play in multilateral forums. The US
role in the Asia-Pacific, especially as security
guarantor in Northeast Asia, remains important from
our point of view and something generally
accepted across the region. Its the case that power
relativities have, and will, change between China
and the United States, although we see the US role
in the region as an indispensable one for the
foreseeable future.

How does New Zealand view increased French
engagement in Asia-Pacific, particularly their
new strategic arrangement with Indonesia?

France has had a very long-term engagement with
the Pacific. France and Indonesias strategic
partnership appears to solidify an existing bilateral
relationship, which revolves around diplomatic and
commercial interests. Indonesia is a large and
important country, and New Zealand has long
recognized that fact. Its also now a country with a
consolidated democratic government. It seems
natural to us that other countries of global
significance would want to shore up their relations
with Indonesia. The 2010 Defence White Paper
states that its in New Zealands interests to play a
leadership role in the South Pacific by being
prepared and acting in concert with our South
Pacific neighbours, now and into the future.

In the last two years, what emerging issues have
most affected New Zealands national security
strategy?

Our security challenges have remained consistent
for some time. They include maritime security and
the freedom of navigation, contributions to
stabilization operations in Afghanistan, Solomon
Island, East Timor assistance to governments in
our neighbourhood, namely the Pacific Island
Pacific Islands Society | Interviews | September 27, 2011
Pacific Islands Society
PO Box 632 | Ebensburg, PA 15931 | USA
843.271.6891 ph pacificislandssociety.org web
Domestic Non-Profit Organization
States, and countering international terrorism and
extremism.

Do you believe that New Zealand will need to
increase strategic ties with other regional and
extra-regional actors to advance its national
interests?

One of New Zealands leading national interests is
to smooth the way for free trade in goods and
services. New Zealands relatively small economy is
dependent on the free exchange of commerce, but
this is something we believe will benefit every
country in the region. This leads to our interest in
achieving free trade arrangements at the global,
regional and bilateral level. Many of the countries
mentioned in this question are part of APEC. Its also
worth mentioning that we see great benefit in the
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) a negotiation
involving nine APEC members, which promises to
be a high-quality, 21st century free trade agreement
that sets the rules for the region. TPP could be a
tremendous boon for economic liberalization in the
APEC context. Were confident that it will, in time,
demonstrate to the wider region the value of such
an arrangement.

One thing we note is the tremendous growth of the
middle class in Asia, and what an opportunity that
creates for countries that want to lay down a
framework that will integrate them into the Asia-
Pacific. We note in particular the growth of the
Chinese economy, which has now overtaken the
United States as our number two trading partner.
We see trade liberalization and flows of commerce
as being more than just about our prosperity.

Ties of commerce could supplement confidence-
building measures at the diplomatic level and create
a situation whereby the countries of the Asia-Pacific
come to understand that we all have a decided
stake in a peaceful region.

In addition, the 2010 Defence White Paper is still
relevant as a statement of the New Zealand
governments position.






















































Guest: Mike Moore is the New Zealand Ambassador
to the United States.

Interviewer: Michael Edward Walsh is the President
of the Pacific Islands Society.

The views expressed are those of the respondent.