Southeast Asia and New Zealand: A History of Regional and Bilateral Relations

Southeast Asia and New Zealand: A History of Regional and Bilateral Relations

Southeast Asia and New Zealand: A History of Regional and Bilateral Relations

Southeast Asia and New Zealand: A History of Regional and Bilateral Relations

Excerpt

New Zealand’s relationship with Southeast Asia has evolved significantly since the end of World War II (WWII). With the exception of New Zealand and Australian pressure on Great Britain to shore up the Singapore base prior to WWII New Zealand did not have interests in Southeast Asia beyond the continuation of British power in the region. The end of the War in the Pacific dragged New Zealand into a relationship with the countries of Southeast Asia. This interest was based on meeting future threats that might come through a weak and unstable Southeast Asia. In the 1950s a New Zealand Minister of External Affairs, T.C. Webb, characterized Southeast Asia as “like so many stepping stones leading down to Australia and New Zealand”. Asia as a whole appeared to be a large threatening continent, in which communism was taking hold. Furthermore, New Zealand’s policy-makers believed the Southeast . . .

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