New Zealand raises human rights, territory tension concerns with China

Sydney, Australia, Mar 25 (EFE).- New Zealand’s foreign minister has expressed concern for the human rights situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, as well as tensions with Taiwan and in the South China Sea to her Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

Nanaia Mahuta this week visited China, the first by a New Zealand foreign minister since 2018, she said in a statement on Saturday.

The minister said “discussions were wide-ranging, covering all aspects of our bilateral relationship” in the meeting she held with Foreign Minister Qin Gang in Beijing.

She also noted that areas where New Zealand and China disagree “form part of a comprehensive and mature relationship.”

“I noted New Zealand’s deep concerns regarding the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong,” said the minister.

China has been accused by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of serious human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, while the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong has been repressed.

Mahuta said she also addressed “concerns over developments in the South China Sea,” where Beijing disputes the sovereignty of islands and atolls with several Southeast Asian countries, and “increasing tensions” over Taiwan, which China considers a rogue province.

She also expressed concern over “any provision of lethal aid in support of Russia’s illegal war” in Ukraine.

The United States has suggested China is considering providing arms and ammunition to Russia, something Beijing has denied.

Mahuta also met with former foreign minister and current director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, Wang Yi.

China’s foreign ministry said it “appreciates New Zealand’s objective and friendly view of China’s development and its practical and positive policy towards China,” said the pair should maintain a fair and open environment for trade and investment, and highlighted global benefits of China’s modernization.

“The two sides exchanged views on cooperation with South Pacific island countries and agreed that they should jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity,” it said.

Wang said the main task in Ukraine is to achieve a ceasefire and start negotiations, a statement made amid Beijing’s proposal for a peace plan to end the conflict. EFE


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