Wellington, New Zealand – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday took a tough stance on China’s human rights record, saying it is becoming harder to resolve differences as China’s role in the world continues to grow.
While Adren’s language remained moderate when compared with many other leaders, it marked a significant change for a country that relies on China as its largest trading partner. In previous speeches, Ardern has often avoided direct criticism of China.
New Zealand has been trying to attack China in the right tone in recent weeks after being defensive with its Five Eyes Security allies, protesting against them uniting with China against some human rights issues.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nunia Mahuta created a diplomatic stir last month when she discussed her reluctance to expand the role of the Five Eyes to include joint positions on human rights. The alliance between New Zealand, the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada has originated in the co-operation of World War II.
In his speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday, Ardern said that New Zealand had raised “serious” concerns with China over human rights issues, including the situation of Uygars in the Xinjiang region and people living in Hong Kong.
“And it would have remained unnoticed here that as China’s role in the world grows and changes, the differences between our systems – and the interests and values that shape those systems – are becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile. , “Ardern told the audience.
Stephen Knock, director of the Center for China Studies at the University of Auckland, said he would not have expected to hear such a language from New Zealand a few years ago. He said that some of it gave Five Eyes a wink to let them know that although New Zealand could have an economic dependence on China, it was not soft.
Knox said that because China’s relations with both Australia and Canada have deteriorated so rapidly over the past few years, it has soured New Zealand’s princely relations.
Nevertheless, Nokes said, he did not expect a change in New Zealand’s rhetoric to have any negative impact on his trade with China. He said that New Zealand’s relatively moderate stance might make it useful in the future between China and the other Five Eyes members.
Nick Perry, The Associated Press