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Chinese Embassy lashes out after Winston Peters and Judith Collins visit Australia

Editor Written by Editor · 2 min read >

The Chinese Embassy in Wellington has issued a scathing rebuke of a statement made by New Zealand and Australian ministers this week, saying they “strongly deplore and firmly oppose it”.

The remarks are in response to a joint statement by New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins, nicknamed “Crusher Collins” from her policy when Minister of Police to crush the cars of speeding drivers, and their Australian counterparts Penny Wong and Richard Marles.

The four met in the inaugural ANZMIN, a new meeting format scheduled to be repeated annually.

The four ministers released a joint statement on Thursday, criticising China for the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong, and the repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The statement also indicated New Zealand was supportive of Australia’s Aukus deal with the United States and the United Kingdom to procure nuclear-powered submarines.

The scathing response to the statement, issued this afternoon by the Chinese Government made clear China’s displeasure and carried an implicit threat that the strong relations New Zealand currently enjoys with China might not continue if the Government continues its security and foreign affairs pivot towards Australia and the United States.

“China stands ready to work with New Zealand on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and constructive management of differences, to promote our bilateral relationship, bringing more benefits to the two countries and peoples”.

“We hope the New Zealand side will also make their efforts towards that end,” the statement said.

Hit said that Xinjiang and Xizang were “inalienable parts of China’s territory from ancient times” and that since the founding of the People’s Republic “great economic and social development achievements have been made” in the regions.

This is not the way New Zealand sees it.

In 2021, New Zealand’s Parliament passed a motion saying the House was “gravely concerned about the severe human rights abuses taking place against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”.

Defence Minister Judith Collins, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong. Photo / Thomas Coughlan
Defence Minister Judith Collins, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong. Photo / Thomas Coughlan

Act’s Brooke van Velden, who moved the motion, wanted to make it even stronger by including the word “genocide”; however, this was opposed by Labour, who then had a majority.

The Chinese statement said changes in Hong Kong had “ended chaos and restored order, thus bringing back unity and prosperity in Hong Kong”.

The Embassy was critical of New Zealand’s softening position on Aukus.

“Like all peace-loving countries, China has serious concerns over Aukus. The nuclear-related cooperation under Aukusruns counter to the letter and spirit of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and constitutes grave nuclear proliferation risks,” the statement said.

It was China was “following closely the implications of Aukus” and the way it might impact the Pacific’s nuclear-free policies of Pacific nations.

“More importantly, Aukus is a stark manifestation of Cold War mentality as it seeks to establish a nuclear-related exclusive military alliance that targets third parties. It will not make either the relevant parties or the wider region more secure. On the contrary, it will undermine peace and stability, sow division and confrontation in the region, and thus runs against the common interests of regional countries pursuing peace, stability and common security,” the statement said.

Thomas Coughlan is Deputy Political Editor and covers politics from Parliament. He has worked for the Herald since 2021 and has worked in the press gallery since 2018.

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