New Zealand’s efforts to influence France on the Solomon Islands-China agreement revealed in leaked cables

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According to newly released documents, New Zealand lobbied French territories in the Pacific to respond to news of a controversial security pact between China and the Solomon Islands. The cables suggest that Wellington hoped officials in French Polynesia and New Caledonia would take a position on the agreement, although it was noted that neither territory was likely to make a public statement. New Zealand officials met with French counterparts in Noumea and Papeete to convey suggestions and urge the first response to come from Pacific leaders. Western capitals, including the US, Australia, and New Zealand, expressed alarm over the pact, fearing China’s potential military presence in the region. France, despite having significant interests in the Pacific, had a relatively muted response. The diplomatic cables indicate New Zealand’s efforts to emphasize a Pacific-led response to the situation and navigate French bureaucracy. This comes amid France’s bid to expand its influence in the region and concerns about growing Chinese influence in territories like New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

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