Security Challenges
Volume 9, No.3 (2013)

Diplomacy by Default? New Zealand and Track II Diplomacy in Asia

The term “Track II diplomacy‟ was coined in 1982 to refer to the methods of diplomacy that were outside the formal government system, that is between non-governmental, informal and unofficial contacts, private citizens and other non-state actors. Specifically, Track II diplomacy may involve academics, journalists, and occasionally politicians, diplomats and military personnel acting in their “private capacity”. Track II diplomacy may also act as a source of advice to governments, be a laboratory to test ideas, provide an alternative diplomatic route when official routes become blocked or stalled, broker between governments and NGOs and academics, and provide a range of “socialising‟ functions, where potential adversaries get to meet and know each other where otherwise they may not be able to.3 Track I diplomacy, by contrast, “represents the official government channel for political and security dialogue in the region” and those who participate in it are officially representing their state.

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