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Home / World / Jacinda Ardern to China: New Zealand and China meet at a critical point

Jacinda Ardern to China: New Zealand and China meet at a critical point



A free trade agreement had been signed just a few months earlier and rejoicing Chinese PM Wen Jiabao told Key that relations between China and New Zealand were "best in history".

A decade later New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spent almost 18 months in office to visit China.

When she settles in Beijing on Sunday to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, relations between the two nations are much more complicated.

"New Zealand is committed to maintaining a constructive and inclusive relationship with China," Ardern said Monday, announcing the trip.

But Jason Young, director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Center, said about the past In some years, there were more and more problems between the two countries.

"Some of these problems are due to how China has changed itself," he said.

  New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao during his meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 1[ads1]4, 2009.

Growing tensions

The relations between China and New Zealand have encouraged Ardern predecessors.

Key visited the country six times during his eight-year tenure. Under Prime Minister Helen Clark, New Zealand became the first industrialized country to sign a free trade agreement with China in 2008.
Today, China is New Zealand's largest trading partner. Bidirectional trade between countries was over $ 19 billion in 2018, $ 28 billion, according to New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade. China is also the second largest tourism market in New Zealand and the largest source for international students.
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Wellington's connections to Beijing but alarm bells in the United States, New Zealand's long-time ally, triggered.

In addition to Washington, New Zealand belongs to the exclusive intelligence community "Five Eyes," which also includes the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

In an extraordinary statement to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in April 2018 said Former US government analyst Peter Mattis said that membership of New Zealand should be reviewed in light of this relationship with Beijing.

"Australia and New Zealand are facing significant problems with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interference. In both cases, the CCP is very close to or near t The political core of both countries, if you will, Mattis told the commission.

The juggling of relations with the US and China has become increasingly difficult for New Zealand, as relations between the two giants become pissed off in the face of the escalation of US President Donald Trump's trade war.

Tensions with Beijing reached a new level in 2018 when the New Zealand Government Security Security Bureau prevented Chinese technology company Huawei from supplying 5G technology to one of the country's largest telecommunications companies, Spark.

The US is putting pressure on its allies and diplomatic partners to abandon Huawei for safety concerns, a move Beijing has routinely condemned.

Ardern spokesman Andrew Campbell said to CNN in February that the relationship was "a little bit confused". .. because of the GCSB's decision regarding Huawei.

Asked whether Huawei was on the agenda this weekend, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang escaped the question.

Ardern on the back

In the last For months, Ardern came under increased pressure from opposition politicians and critics to defend the strength of New Zealand's relations with China.

Ardern had to deny that China deliberately filed for visa procedures for New Zealand diplomats and postponed officials' travel to Beijing [19659012] In the same month, local media reported that an Air New Zealand flight to Shanghai was mysteriously forced to return to Auckland when it found out that the paperwork was related to the disputed island of Taiwan.

At that time, Ardern contested that it is a "relationship problem" with China, instead it is an administrative error.

But the versc Shooting of a major Chinese-New Zealand tourism event in the same month – Ardern has made this lead to a schedule that also contributed to the speculation on a crack.

Ardern's journey also comes at a sensitive time for New Zealand, just two weeks after the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch in which 50 people died. She even said that she would shorten her trip to China, as it did not seem "appropriate" to be abroad at such a time.

Following global praise for their handling of the tragedy, the New Zealand leader has gone down in pressure from the human rights group to raise the issue of China's crackdown on Uyghur Muslims with Xi. According to reports from the US government, up to two million Uighurs have reportedly been detained in detention centers in the western region of Xinjiang.

"Since I've already raised it, that should give a clue," she told reporters this week.

Prior to their trip, a spokesman for the Prime Minister again denied that she was concerned that the relationship with China was deteriorating under her leadership. "China is one of our most important and far-reaching relationships, and our relationship is mature and resilient," the spokesman said.

The Chinese researcher Young agreed to the official line.

"I think if the relationship really worsens this way, it would be much clearer, I think China would be much more explicit in the message" I wanted to send a message, "he said.

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Wider tribes

The Pacific Rim – one A region where New Zealand has been playing a significant role for a long time, a new battlefield of influence is increasingly evolving.

China has promised billions of dollars in aid and support in the region and could go through Australia if it comes through as the largest donor for the pacific states.
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New Zealand has also ramped up its spending. Last year, the government announced that it would increase aid to the region by $ 714 million (US $ 484 million) as part of its "Pacific Reset" strategy – a move claimed by commentators, at least in part driven by China's growing influence in the region.
"We have caught up with New Zealand's diminishing influence in the Pacific, and we are determined to take back our approach to working with the Pacific," Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said in June last year.

Despite the many points of friction, Stephen Jacobi, the director of the New Zealand China Council, is not panic-stricken. Instead, Jacobi said, the biggest fear is that the tiny New Zealand will become irrelevant.

"The reality is that we are a small country and the Chinese do not think every day about how to do beautiful things for New Zealand," he said. "That means we have to be careful how we do things – but we'll never agree with China on everything."


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