Ardern’s visit should focus on peace, decolonisation

Peace Action Wellington says that Jacinda Ardern’s trip to Washington DC and meeting with US President Joe Biden should focus on peace and decolonisation in the Pacific.

US Pacific Fleet

“Jacinda Ardern’s visit comes immediately on the heels of Joe Biden’s trip to Japan for a meeting of the ‘Quad’ – the US, Australia, India and Japan – that intends to dramatically increase militarisation of the Pacific region. Ardern’s own visit to Japan recently also stressed growing military cooperation,” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

“All of this must be seen as a direct response to Chinese military expansion in the region. China now has the world’s largest navy and is seeking security pacts with Pacific nations.”  

“Against the backdrop of the horror in Ukraine and increased military spending by both the US and New Zealand, it is imperative that we push for a vision of a peaceful and decolonised Pacific. This should be the focus of Ardern’s trip to Washington.”

“We think that this ‘tit for tat’ is a step in the wrong direction, and risks greatly increasing the risks of a Pacific war.”

“Instead of more weapons and military deployments across the region, we need some real leadership with a vision of a demilitarised and decolonised Pacific region. Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta could be champions for a real indigenous-centred peace processes across the region that sought to build trust between peoples, and that put the issue of Pacific decolonisation squarely back on the table.”

“The ‘security’ that both the US and China promote simply means their control over critical shipping routes, over resources and over markets. It is not security from the impending crisis of climate change, nor of the ongoing impacts of nuclear weapons testing and radioactive waste. It is not a security that cares for refugees fleeing war nor one that guarantees all people the right to determine their own futures.”

“The people of Guam, Hawai’i, New Caledonia, West Papua, American Samoa and French Polynesia are still not free from imperialist rule.”

“We strongly urge Ardern to use her trip to Washington to promote peace and decolonisation in the Pacific. By developing strategies to dial down military spending, training and deployments while devising trust building exercises we could begin to chart a very different and very positive future.” 

“The military build up of the region is a catastrophe in the making. We must do everything in our power to work for real peace and decolonisation.”

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