New Zealand has agreed to formally investigate the possible benefits of joining the Aukus deal. This move indicates Wellington’s willingness in the security accord primarily intended to oppose China.
Foreign affairs and defence ministers of both nations affirmed that Australia will send delegations to NZ to discuss pillar two of Aukus. It will focus on collaboration in strategically sensitive domains such as quantum computing and AI.
Judith Collins, NZ’s defence minister, remarked at a joint news conference that Australian officials have been tasked with collaborating with their New Zealand counterparts to explore the opportunities presented by Aukus Two for New Zealand. It particularly emphasises the vast prospects available for its space and technology sectors.
Signed in September 2021, the Aukus pact has primarily garnered attention for its first pillar, wherein London and Washington pledged assistance to Canberra in establishing its fleet of nuclear-powered submarines by the 2040s. Notably, NZ, which maintains a nuclear-free policy, is solely interested in pillar two. Last year, the multibillion-dollar plan for the new fleet of submarines aimed at navigating the Pacific to counteract China’s escalating assertiveness in the South China Sea and surrounding Taiwan.
Meanwhile, China accused Australia of becoming a nuclear threat and Aukus would “harm the peace and stability in the region.”