New Zealand weighs whether to join AUKUS defense alliance

Andrew Little

New Zealand will study a proposal to partially join the AUKUS defense alliance – made up of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia – for the exchange of information and technology, although avoiding its nuclear aspect, said Tuesday (03.28.2023) its minister of Defence, Andrew Little.

The pact, which includes the development of nuclear submarines for Australia, has a “second pillar” whereby the partners collaborate on the development of quantum, hypersonic, robotics and artificial intelligence technologies, among others, as well as the exchange of information that allows them to operate in complex military contexts.

“We have been offered the opportunity to discuss whether we could or would like to participate in the second pillar aspect (of AUKUS). I have indicated that we will be willing to explore it, and that has been it,” Little said in a brief statement sent to agencies today. like Efe and Bloomberg. The country has been concerned about the tensions in Taiwan.

The statements by the New Zealand minister come after the recent visit of the United States Security Council for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, who during his visit to New Zealand said that the doors are open for Wellington to join AUKUS “to work on technologies toes”.

Affiliation to the AUKUS pact is a thorny issue for New Zealand, which has maintained a strict anti-nuclear policy since 1987 following the sinking -two years earlier- of a ship belonging to the environmental organization Greenpeace that was in the port of Auckland to protest the nuclear tests that France carried out in the Pacific.

Following the AUKUS, signed in September 2021 in the face of China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines, something that its New Zealand neighbor has publicly criticized.