Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged Beijing to oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a speech highlighting how China has benefited from global stability and institutions.
Ardern delivered the keynote at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday morning, before leaving for Samoa. The Prime Minister told the story of New Zealand’s 50-year relationship with China, from the enterprising early Chinese settlers to the current $38 billion trading relationship.
“There are and continue to be opportunities where New Zealand and China should and can cooperate,” Ardern said.
“Looking back over the past 50 years, it is clear that both China and New Zealand have been major beneficiaries of relative peace, stability and prosperity in our region and the world.
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Ardern’s speech came as tensions between the United States and China escalated over Taiwan, an island nation that China claims is its territory.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden not to ‘play with fire’ last week as the prospect of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan sparked anger from Beijing.
Although Ardern noted that China had become “more assertive in pursuing its interests”, she did not revisit her criticism of recent foreign policy rhetoric that China was “more willing to defy rules and norms. international”.
On Monday, she said New Zealand had supported China’s “remarkable development” through its integration into the global economy.
“But if we look at the counterfactual, we see how much we have to lose if the rules-based international system falters,” Ardern said, giving the example of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“As history shows us time and time again, when big countries ignore sovereignty and territorial integrity with a sense of impunity, it doesn’t bode well, especially for small countries like New Zealand. .
“We continue to urge China to make it clear that it does not support the Russian invasion, and we have called on China to use its access and influence to help end the conflict.”
On New Zealand’s “multifaceted” relationship with China, Ardern said New Zealand would continue to speak out on concerns such as economic coercion and human rights. She also briefly touched on tensions in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
“Managing the differences in our relationship will not always be easy and there are no guarantees. But as a government, we continue to work hard – through dialogue and diplomacy.
Ardern said she wanted to lead a trade delegation to China to “seize new opportunities”, when the country’s Covid-19 restrictions allowed.
Responding to questions after his speech, Ardern said New Zealand was seeking dialogue and diplomacy on the Taiwan Strait issue. She said there was often a “cross-comparison” between different conflicts.
“Our view is that we must examine each individual point of tension on its own basis, not confuse any of these other international conflicts with another, and continue to directly engage on these issues independently.”
Wang Xiaolong, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, said New Zealand-China relations should focus on three words: engagement, consolidation and growth.
“As long as we adhere to the principles of mutual respect, finding common ground while reserving differences and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, the two countries, through constructive dialogues, including understood on issues such as human rights, we will be able to properly manage, gradually reduce and ultimately transcend the differences between us,” he said.
He said “people’s trust” was crucial to the relationship, with Chinese tourists, students and consumers who “with their feet and wallets voted” for the relationship.
Chinese Ambassador Wang Xiaolong spoke about New Zealand-China relations at the China Business Summit held in Auckland on Monday August 1, 2022.
“In this connection, [there is] The important role responsible media must play in helping people on both sides see things as they are – through the veil or the dust of myth, and sometimes even misinformation, cannot be overemphasized.
“As the Chinese saying goes, a boat that rides upstream either sails forward or drifts backward.”
He said China does not want a “Cold War mentality” or “division of the world along ideological lines”.
“China is committed to working with New Zealand and other partners to jointly safeguard peace and stability and oppose any attempt or provocation to create tension or inflame conflict in this region. “
He said that despite the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fundamentals of China’s economy “remain unchanged”.
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