New Zealand PM wants to stay in talks with China

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins affirmed that New Zealand will sustain its engagement with China, its largest trading partner, while also addressing areas of disagreement that challenge New Zealand’s national interests.

Although New Zealand has traditionally adopted a moderate stance on China within the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the United States and its allies, it is now navigating its relationship with China amidst the strategic rivalry between Beijing and Washington.

In a speech delivered at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Hipkins stated that a strong, mature, and complex relationship with China entails having difficult conversations rather than avoiding them. While New Zealand will continue to hold diverging views with China on various issues, including human rights, the approach to engagement will be characterised by openness and honesty.

Hipkins’ speech comes shortly after his six-day visit to China, during which he held meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. President Xi affirmed that China has always regarded New Zealand as a “friend and partner.”

Hipkins emphasised the need for New Zealand to ensure greater economic resilience across its trade markets, particularly in times of global uncertainty. He further clarified that an independent foreign policy does not equate to a neutral stance. New Zealand, as a nation, charts its own course based on decisions that serve its national interests. Hipkins assured that while there may be adjustments, these decisions would not constitute a radical departure from the country’s established foreign policy.

Hipkins also acknowledged the vital role played by the United States in upholding the system of international rules that safeguard New Zealand’s interests. He expressed his commitment to maintaining close collaboration with Washington.

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