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New Zealand may remain silent on Chinese treatment of Uyghurs

uhyghurs New Zealand China

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated on Monday that while New Zealand and China do not agree on certain issues, their relationship will not be jeopardised. This statement comes as New Zealand faces pressure from both domestic and international allies to condemn China’s atrocities against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.

Prime Minister Ardern stated Monday at the China Business Summit in Auckland that it has not escaped anyone’s attention that as Beijing’s role in the world evolves, “the differences between our systems — and the interests and values that shape those systems — are becoming harder to reconcile.”

On Monday, Ardern stated that she does not consider differences with China to be ‘irreconcilable,’ and that ties between the two countries remain strong. She stated that while China and New Zealand do not agree on certain issues, this does not ‘derail’ our relationship. ‘It is simply a reality,’ she explained. She added that there are still opportunities for New Zealand and China to collaborate on issues such as international trade, climate change, and COVID-19 response.

Ardern’s stern remarks come just weeks after Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta expressed reluctance to broaden the Five Eyes intelligence security alliance’s role in criticising China’s human rights record. Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States are members of the Five Eyes alliance.

New Zealand’s previous reluctance to openly criticise China contrasts sharply with Australia, which is embroiled in a diplomatic and trade dispute over Canberra’s call for an international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was first detected in China in late 2019.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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