China's Foreign Minister is touring the Pacific this week, visiting eight countries in an effort to sure up security and trade relationships.
And the sudden trip has raised alarms, with fears the superpower will strengthen its military presence in the area.
Arm in arm, China's newest stronghold in the Pacific the Solomon Island, its Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare welcomed China's Foreign Minister, signing the republic's praises.
"We admire the work it has done in pulling people out of poverty," Sogavare said.
The Solomons is the first stop of Foreign Minister Wang Yi's tour of the Pacific, announced just days ago.
The 10-day tour will see Yi visit eight countries, his midnight arrival seen as an escalation in China's Pacific plans.
"We don't know to what extent the Pacific Islands Government will become dependent on China," said Stephen Hoadley, associate professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland.
China has already signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands which stipulates China will be able to send armed police and warships to assist the Government.
And there are growing concerns they could use the deal to one day secure a military base.
- China's Wang dismisses speculation of a military base in Solomons
- Government accused of neglecting Pacific partnerships as China's influence grows
- Solomons media angry over 'ridiculous' restrictions at China conference
- China wants 10 Pacific nations to endorse 'game-changing' agreement
"This is the model the Chinese will bring to the other Pacific Islands," Hoadley added.
It's raised alarm bells in Australia, with its new Foreign Minister Penny Wong racing to Fiji in an effort to keep them on their side.
And the United States too, is keeping a close eye.
"The ruling Chinese Communist Party become more repressive at home and more aggressive abroad," US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin said.
Our Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta wasn't available to comment, but earlier this week said China's interest in the Pacific does not come as a surprise.
But National's Christopher Luxon has questions about how good Aotearoa's intelligence is.
"It was a bit of a shock that we didn't know it was coming. We still have to ask some questions about that and questions on the depth of the relationships we have with our Pacific countries."
And questions are being raised on exactly what Aotearoa's plan is to keep the peace in the Pacific.