Japan and New Zealand Agree to Enhance Classified Information Sharing Amid Growing Regional Tensions

Japan and New Zealand Agree to Enhance Classified Information Sharing Amid Growing Regional Tensions

Japan and New Zealand have reached an agreement to boost their classified information sharing to address the increasing challenges posed by China's escalating military assertiveness and growing regional tensions. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and New Zealand's Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held discussions in Tokyo, where they also highlighted the need to collaborate on economic security initiatives. Luxon, who took office in November 2023, had his first official visit to Japan, succeeding Jacinda Ardern after his National Party defeated her Labour Party in a general election.

The leaders emphasized the importance of working together to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, a strategic vision put forth by Japan as a means to counterbalance China's influence in the region. In a joint statement following their meeting, Kishida and Luxon expressed their shared concerns about the situation in the South China Sea, where China's construction of artificial islands with military facilities has raised alarm. The leaders also condemned China's unilateral actions in the East China Sea, particularly its repeated incursions near the disputed Senkaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

Regarding Taiwan, both Japan and New Zealand reiterated the significance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has not ruled out the use of force to reunify it with the mainland. The leaders also expressed their criticism of North Korea's alleged weapon transfers to Russia following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, underscoring the need to strengthen supply chains for strategic goods. Additionally, they affirmed their commitment to supporting the upcoming Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in July, a forum that brings together 19 nations and territories, including Australia and New Zealand, to address various regional issues such as development aid, security, climate change, and tourism.