Posted on 25 May 2023
Early this week, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins visited Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the United States-Pacific Summit. The meetings included talks with Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, James Marape, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Mark Brown, Cook Islands Prime Minister, and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who stood in for US Prime Minister Joe Biden.
A key topic of discussion was the proposed deal between the US and PNG that would give the US full access to the Pacific nation’s territorial waters and airspace. Hipkins weighed in on the issue, saying that "New Zealand doesn't support militarisation of the Pacific” but equally “we shouldn't assume that all military partnerships are necessarily about conflict.”
Hipkins ultimately described the discussion as “engaging and productive.”
"Regional unity is critical to the resilience of the Pacific and it was particularly encouraging to see the United States engaging so constructively with the Pacific Islands Forum members," he said.