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China accuses New Zealand of “misguided” allegations

#China #accuses #Zealand #misguided #allegations

China on Friday accused New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of making “wrong and therefore regrettable” statements that were not helpful in keeping the two countries’ relations “on track”.

Ardern attended the NATO summit in Spain this week and said in a speech on Wednesday that China has become “more assertive and willing to challenge international rules and norms”.

The Chinese embassy in Wellington said on Friday it had taken note of Ardern’s “misguided” allegations.

“This allegation is false and therefore regrettable,” the embassy said in a statement published on its website.

“It is evident that such a comment is not helpful in deepening mutual trust between the two countries or in aiding the two countries’ efforts to keep our bilateral relations on track.”

It is the second time in a month that China has questioned Ardern’s comments.

In early June, New Zealand leader and US President Joe Biden issued a joint statement expressing concern over the possibility that China could establish “a sustained military presence in the Pacific.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the two leaders of trying to “deliberately exaggerate” China’s internal problems, saying their statement “distorts and slanders China’s normal cooperation with the Pacific island nations.”

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner and Wellington has previously tried not to anger Beijing.

Over the past year, it has distanced itself from statements by its “Five Eyes” intelligence partners – the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada – condemning Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population.

But in her speech at the NATO summit, Ardern said that while Europe faces tensions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Pacific also faces “increasing pressure on the international rules-based order.”

Concerns were heightened in April when China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, raising fears it could open the door to a Chinese military presence in the South Pacific.

The Chinese embassy stuck to its goal in the South Pacific of helping island nations develop, saying Beijing is “opposed to attempts by a small number of countries to impose their own will and so-called values ​​on others under the guise of multilateralism.”

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