New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking a tougher stance on China. Her comments were made as New Zealand’s government comes under increasing pressure from international allies. Last Thursday, the center-left government said it’s ”uncomfortable” using the 70-year-old ”Five Eyes” intelligence grouping, which includes the US, Britain, Australia and Canada, to criticize China. Some critics accused the government in Wellington of selling out to Beijing.
When it was time to condemn China’s crackdown on the democracy movement in Hongkong and its treatment of its minority Muslim population in Xinjiang, New Zealand has been reluctant to sign up to statements from its ”Five Eyes” alliance partners.
The center-left government even suggested its partners were not showing enough respect for China – New Zealand’s biggest trading partner – and urged Australia to be more cautious in their wording when dealing with the Chinese government.
This prompted an outcry from their allies, especially in Britain, the US and Australia. Now, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is making what looks like a significant U-turn…
New Zealand’s exports to China are worth more than to the next four largest trading partners – Australia, the US, UK, and Japan – combined. Ardern’s tougher stance shows the rising challenge of balancing trade concerns and human-rights commitments as China’s influence expands.
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