In Fiji:

April 10, 2024, 11:06 am
Regional, World

Leaked documents show contempt

Georgina Ledua
Digital Media Specialist | [email protected]
Story By:

Criticism through documents found showing Tonga’s contempt for Australia and NZ’s response to China- Solomon security pact.

‘Condescending rhectoric’ was a common phrase was brought up to describe the tone of Australia and New Zealand; and they were often said to be, ‘far removed from Pacific sensibilities’

Experts had stated that the leaked documents expressed the frustrations within the region.

New Zealand has stated that they have still have objections with the pact, whilst Australia has not issued a comment.

The leaked document from Tonga’s Foreign Affairs showed that they sharply critised Australia and New Zealand’s response to the security pact signed by the China-Solomon Islands, simultaneously they had declared Western diplomacy is ‘failing’ within the region.

The Morrison and Ardern governments, back at 2022, had tried to rally the Pacific region to send messages diplomatically, in order to not sign the deeply contentious and vague agreement with Beijing – which also, places the ability of Chinese security movement within the region via Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, had signed the document in his strategic bid for re-election

The document also takes aim at Australian and Western media outlets over their coverage of China and the Pacific, accusing them of being “obsessed” with China’s presence in the region.

Dr Anna Powles from Massey University had spoken to ABC that the document reflected the “disconnect” between how Australia and New Zealand perceived the “Pacific family” and the “frustrations felt in the region” towards the two larger nations.

The document captures the tensions between how the Pacific region views the strategic competition in the region and the geopolitical anxieties held by Canberra and Wellington.

It also revealed the deep reservations about the China-Solomon Islands security agreement held by neighboring Pacific governments but it also suggested that the response from Canberra and Wellington lacked sufficient understanding of astute Pacific diplomacy.

A spokesperson for the New Zealand’s ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade told ABC that it was for for “Tongan officials to determine how they brief their ministers”.

“New Zealand’s objections to Solomon Islands and China’s secretive security pact have not diminished. We see that agreement as unnecessary and unwelcome,” they said.

They added that Pacific leaders had “repeatedly affirmed a strong commitment to support each other to meet the region’s security needs” and New Zealand remained “firmly committed” to that principle.

“We will continue to take opportunities to caucus with our Pacific partners, bilaterally and in regional forums, on issues of shared concern or significant regional impact,” they said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has not yet responded to the ABC’s request for comment.

(This story was first published by the ABC.)