Regional security: challenges and opportunities: Mark Mitchell outlines New Zealand's approach to security in the Asia-Pacific region and promises that it will remain outward looking and engaged.

Author:Mitchell, Mark
Position:Essay
 
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New Zealand's future depends on it remaining outward looking and engaged with the world. The government takes an optimistic view, and rejects the thinking that we have reached a point where our threats have overwhelmed our opportunities. It believes that responses to global threats are only effective when all states, no matter their size, have the opportunity to share their views and perspectives. As a connected global citizen, New Zealand is not immune to these threats. It is constantly challenging itself on how best to use its resources and capabilities to contribute, credibly and effectively, to countering global threats, as it has done effectively in the past.

The Shangri-La Dialogue is one of the worlds pre-eminent institutions for defence diplomacy. It provides a chance for friends and neighbours from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond to talk openly about the challenges and opportunities we face in our region. Responses to global threats are only effective when all states, no matter their size, have the opportunity to share their views and perspectives, for we all have a role to play.

I will begin by briefly touching on the global threats that impact the prosperity and security of every country here. Our 2016 Defence White Paper highlighted the fast-moving international security environment that continues to test us on several fronts. We are now faced with a number of challenges which combine multiple threats, actors and competing security interests, and which have global application. Localised, conventional challenges are no longer the norm.

We have discussed nuclear proliferation, particularly the current threats posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile testing, which New Zealand condemns in the strongest terms. We have discussed the ever-growing threat of violent extremism, which reaches across the globe, including the problem of returning foreign terrorist fighters, from Iraq and Syria. We know that terror organisations look to galvanise support and exploit porous borders, disenfranchised individuals and the access provided by the internet and social media. This a clear and present security threat to us all, and there is no clearer reminder of this than the horrendous attacks in London on 4 June. Once again, the British capital has experienced a terror attack with the loss of innocent lives, and we send our condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

This dialogue is timely in allowing us to focus on how we show resolve in...

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