The prime minister’s statement came after several Western countries pressured New Zealand to refrain from criticizing Beijing’s policy through the five intelligence community that includes New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.
Jacinda Ardern said in an economic forum that there are areas in which New Zealand and China will not agree now and in the future, but that these are not what should define the relationship between the two countries.
Experts say the prime minister’s current speech aims to mitigate criticism of Foreign Minister Nanaya Mahota’s comments last month. The foreign minister was criticized for failing to increase the role of the Five Eyes community. However, no fundamental change is expected in New Zealand’s policy towards China, which tends to seek a friendly, or at least neutral, tone.
By the way, China is one of New Zealand’s most important trading partners, accounting for a third of the country’s exports. China has repeatedly criticized Five Eyes recently for expressing its views on what happened in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
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