New Zealand foreign minister blames ‘relationship failure’ for China-Solomons security deal

Nanaia Mahuta confirms ‘unwelcome and unnecessary’ deal came as a surprise to New Zealand and Australia, saying the Solomons must provide transparency

The shock over China’s security deal with Solomon Islands is evidence of “a relationship failure” , New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister has said, confirming that the pact took New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations completely by surprise.

The deal marks Beijing’s first known bilateral security agreement in the Pacific. The text of the final deal is secret, but a draft leaked on social media in March granted Chinese military and police significant access to the country, allowing China to “make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in Solomon Islands”.

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