Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has met virtually with her Solomons Island counterpart - the first contact between the pair since that nation signed a controversial security pact with China.
The meeting comes after Newshub reported last night the only contact Mahuta had made with Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele had been a letter, to which she'd received no response.
This was despite Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manaseh Sogavare confirming in March that his government finalised a security treaty with China, which Mahuta at the time labelled "deeply concerning".
Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare today also announced the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) deployment to Solomon Islands, would be extended another year.
Mahuta said this morning she had spoken to Manele over Zoom, during which they discussed "our co-operation as well as the extension of our deployment to Solomon Islands".
"New Zealand will continue to work in partnership to weather the profound challenges that face our region, as we have through Covid-19 and last year's unrest in Honiara."
The deployment is part of the Pacific-led Solomon Islands International Assistance Force (SIAF), with personnel also from Australia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.
It was set up in late November 2021 to support the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in restoring peace and stability following civil unrest.
The deployment came after a Solomon Islands government request amid deadly riots and looting in the capital Honiara in November.
Domestic political tensions over China were a factor in the riots, and the city's Chinatown was severely damaged.
Such tensions have been simmering since 2019, when the Solomon Islands government withdrew its recognition of Taiwan and switched allegiance to Beijing.
Mahuta said in her Zoom meeting with Manele she reiterated Aotearoa New Zealand's "concerns about the recently-signed security agreement between Solomon Islands and China".
She also "welcomed" assurances the agreement would not lead to a Chinese military base.
She said they discussed how regional implications of the agreement needed to be discussed further among Pacific Island Forum members.
Mahuta previously said the proposed agreement with China "while within Solomon Islands' sovereign rights, risks destabilising the current institutions and arrangements that have long ensured the Pacific region's security".
"Given this would not benefit New Zealand or our Pacific neighbours, we will continue to raise our strong condemnation of such agreement directly with the countries involved."