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Five Eyes Security Partners Meet in New Zealand

Map of New Zealand.
Map of New Zealand.

Politicians from the Five Eyes alliance are meeting in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, where migration and security are top of the agenda. The grouping includes the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing accord among five English-speaking democracies. British Home Secretary Suella Braverman is among those attending meetings in Wellington, New Zealand.

War and China likely on agenda

The war in Ukraine and China's growing assertiveness are expected to be discussed at the five-country ministerial talks Wednesday in Wellington. Also on the agenda in the New Zealand capital are cyber security, child sex abuse, and foreign espionage at universities. Delegates are also expected to discuss migration and labor mobility schemes between alliance countries.

Anne-Marie Brady is a professor in the department of Political Science and International Relations at New Zealand's University of Canterbury.

She told VOA Wednesday that the Five Eyes alliance has an important part to play in maintaining global security.

"Because the rules based international order is under such threat by the behavior of Russia and China and the way they misuse their positions in international organizations such as the (U.N.) Security Council, that is leading to increasing prominence of groupings of interested states," said Brady. "That relationship of the five countries in Five Eyes is very important and relevant in a very challenging international environment."

Alliance formed after war

The Five Eyes alliance began between the United States and Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War. Over the next decade, it was expanded to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It has had a reputation for secrecy.

Earlier this year, it blamed China for recent cyber-attacks targeting "critical infrastructure" in the U.S. Beijing responded by accusing the English-speaking alliance of spreading disinformation.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has been in China this week on an official visit. Tuesday, he met Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both leaders acknowledged the importance of the bilateral relationship. They discussed trade, international relations and the war in Ukraine.

Hipkins said in a statement that his country's "relationship with China is one of our most significant and wide-ranging."

New Zealand's exports to China are worth more than $12.8 billion, or a quarter of the country's total export earnings, according to government data.