Defence Minister Ron Mark is back in New Zealand after his four-day visit to China, clearly excited to be carrying in his bag a “Memorandum of Arrangement” concerning Defence Co-operation with China.
He signed the memorandum with China’s Minister of National Defence, General Wei Fenghe in Beijing.
Mark says he signed the arrangement after they reviewed the state of the defence relationship.
It may be news to many New Zealanders that there is such a relationship. And given President Xi Jinping has done more than any of his predecessors to make China’s armed forces world-class, enabling China to deploy precision missiles and anti-satellite weapons that challenge American supremacy in the western Pacific, it could make defence ministers in the rest of the region nervous. Continue reading “NZ’s Defence relationship with China has been reset to “cosy” – but it mightn’t fit cosily with the Pacific Reset”
NZ’s Defence Minister Ron Mark is visiting China for talks with Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe and the vice chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, Air Chief Marshal Xu Qiliang.
Before he left on his four-day mission he described China as a “key strategic partner”, saying he aimed to improve the relationship “and help build our understanding of the country”. He said he would discuss the security implications of climate change, and also discuss peacekeeping and disaster relief efforts.
But even though he is renowned for being politically feisty on his home patch, it is unlikely he would raise with his Chinese counterparts such issues as the round of protests in Hong Kong or the fate of the Uighurs. Continue reading “When Ron Mark is speaking in China, the best form of Defence (it seems) is to refrain from attack”
Chris Seed has been confirmed as Secretary of Foreign Affairs & Trade, as Point of Order earlier foreshadowed. An experienced diplomat, he succeeds Brook Barrington who the State Services Commission named as CEO of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet.
Seed, who recently returned to NZ after serving a five-year term as High Commissioner to Canberra, is expected to work closely with Foreign Minister Winston Peters on his Pacific Reset policies.
His appointment is understood to have been extremely well received by senior staff in MFAT, whose morale was severely bruised during the era of John Allen as CEO. It is known that Peters has been keen to return MFAT to the slot it enjoyed before the Allen era as one of the key sources of advice to Cabinet, not just on foreign and trade policies but in other areas of national security. Continue reading “MFAT’s prestige is expected to bloom again, now the ministry has gone to Seed”
Left-wing blogger Chris Trotter, in one of his recent essays, questions whether PM Jacinda Ardern is really running the government or is merely its figurehead.
He cited several examples of the PM appearing to be unaware of key policy decisions and questioned whether allowing her leading Cabinet Ministers to simply get on with the job is a central feature of her management style.
“I hope not. It would suggest that Ardern has chosen the role of figurehead rather than leader. That her job is to supply the warm and sympathetic face of the Coalition Government while the heavy-hitters of her Cabinet – Winston Peters, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Phil Twyford, Meagan Woods and Shane Jones – carry out the day-to-day business of governing the country”. Continue reading “Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive”