Defence Minister Peeni Henare is at the Shangri-La Dialogue, which is Asia's top defence meeting.
Over the weekend, Henare said Pacific Island nations were free to make their own decisions about co-operating with China, A shift seemingly in the conversation given the Prime Minister issued a joint statement with US President Joe Biden recently saying she was concerned by China's increasing role in the pacific.
Today FM's international analyst and geopolitical expert Geoffrey Miller, from The Democracy Project, joined First Light's Rachel Smalley on Monday morning to discuss the shift in language.
"I think we've seen a bit of a recalibration," said Miller.
"Jacinda Ardern last week had used the sovereign nation's language and I think that will be welcome news to Pacific countries.
"They had not really appreciated the backyard language that Jacinda Ardern had used and Australia had used to describe the Pacific and yet Henare was echoing that new language of referring to Pacific Island countries as the sovereign nations that they most certainly are."
Listen to the full interview between Geoffrey Miller and Rachel Smalley above.