New Zealand’s Relations with the US and China since 2016
The paper traces distinctive characteristics of New Zealand’s dialogue with the US and China since 2016. The South Pacific economic and security processes have received much attention in recent years, after China’s mega-strategy the Belt and Road Initiative was extended to the South Pacific. Nevertheless, the regional economic and political-security nexus is a complex picture, one that is not captured by existing academic publications. In light of this, the article takes a step forward in increasing knowledge of how relations between South Pacific actors evolve. The issue of New Zealand-US and New-Zealand-China relations are studied from a historical perspective. It is analysed in terms of main trends and development factors during the past years: the policies of two American administrations under D. Trump and J. Biden, as well as against the backdrop of an escalating trade war between the two superpowers in 2018. In addition, the paper assesses the impact of Sino-American relations since 2016 on the evolution of major South Pacific processes. It specifies the influence of Sino-American rivalry on bilateral and multilateral relations in the South Pacific and, in particular, on New Zealand’s internal and foreign policy. The findings indicate that although China is New Zealand’s most important economic partner whose significance is growing, Wellington is unwilling to side with Beijing to the detriment of cooperation with other partners.