U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
New Zealand faces the likelihood of a strategic choice between the USA and China if the current trajectory of competition between the two superpowers continues. While this is a well-recognized issue for many countries, covered in a wide range of literature, what is not well defined is the link between New Zealands current strategies and how they align with both the USA and Chinese strategies in the region. Furthermore, these open source strategies are not necessarily an accurate reflection of each nations intentions. The importance of the issue China is currently New Zealands largest export partner. The USA is a former ally and traditionally a strong military partner with closely aligned shared values and culture. New Zealand, along with Australia, is of strategic importance to both the USA and China in the South West Pacific. This is demonstrated by the US pivot to the Pacific in 2012, and Chinas Belt and Road Initiative pushing heavy investments into the smaller islands in the region. Of further relevance is New Zealands access to resource rich Antarctica and fishing grounds in the Southern Ocean.