Sydney, Australia, May 3 (EFE).- The prime minister of New Zealand said on Monday that the differences between the systems of her country and those of China, as well as their respective values ??and interests, are becoming “harder to reconcile” as the Asian country’s role in the world grows and changes.
“This is a challenge that we, and many other countries across the Indo Pacific region, but also in Europe and other regions, are also grappling with,” Jacinda Ardern said in a speech at the China Business Summit.
However, she added that “areas of difference need not define a relationship.”
Defending New Zealand’s foreign policy, Ardern said that her country has raised issues with China, privately or publicly, individually or together with other countries or in multilateral bodies, including thorny issues such as respect for human rights.
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner.
“This need not derail our relationship, it is simply a reality,” said the prime minister, stressing that “New Zealanders expect their government to take a principled stance on issues, particularly where our values are at stake ”
Ardern’s remarks come after New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said last month that the country will take a more independent stance on relations with China, thereby distancing itself from the “Five Eyes” strategic alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
China’s ambassador to New Zealand, Wu Xi, who was also present at the summit, acknowledged the long-standing bilateral relationship, although she warned against “interfering” in China’s “internal matters”, specifically with regards to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, public broadcaster Radio New Zealand reported.
The ambassador said that allegations of forced labor and genocide of the Muslim minority of Uighurs in Xinjiang were “lies fabricated” by anti-China forces.
“The political virus – which politicizes economic, health, scientific and technological issues, attempts to impose ideology on others, and engage in group politics – will only poison the international cooperation and push the world into division, or even confrontation,” she added. EFE