xi's moments
Home | Asia Pacific

Ardern stresses importance of Beijing ties

By KARL WILSON in Sydney | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-06 09:16

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses members of the media during a joint news conference hosted with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, following their annual Leaders’ Meeting, at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Sydney, Australia, July 8, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reaffirmed her country's "shared interests" with China and called on both nations to "bind our shared aspiration for peace and prosperity" amid growing global tensions.

In an address to the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday, Ardern reminded delegates that it was 50 years ago that New Zealand and China formally established diplomatic relations.

She noted that despite some disruptions along the way, "there has been positive progress" in the relationship between the two countries, especially in the economic sphere, with the entry into force earlier this year of both a bilateral free-trade agreement upgrade and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

She said New Zealand was looking forward to the return of in-person ministerial visits.

"A few plans are afoot," she said. "I know there have been indications our foreign ministers will exchange visits when conditions allow."

New Zealand and China may differ on some issues but they have managed to retain a respectful working relationship over the past five decades, unlike the case with close neighbor Australia.

Associate Professor Jason Young, director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University in Wellington, puts this down to the way New Zealand handles its diplomacy.

"In New Zealand, whatever the government, you tend to have a strong focus on diplomatic language... making sure that when messages are put out there, particularly messages which other important partners may not want to hear, that they are framed in a respectful tone and focus on maintaining an open dialogue to resolve issues," he told China Daily.

In her speech, Ardern noted the importance of addressing climate change and why it is imperative to maintain "regular ministerial dialogues between our countries".

"A stable climate is crucial to the economic security of all nations," she said.

Further, she said: "Our continued investment in areas of cooperation, both before and during the pandemic", demonstrates the importance both sides place on the relationship.

Geoffrey Miller, an international analyst with the Democracy Project at Victoria University, said Ardern's speech was optimistic about the health and future of the bilateral relationship.

He said Ardern's softer line on China could be driven by a realization that New Zealand "had gone too far with its pro-Western foreign policy" in the first half of the year.

Catherine Beard, director of advocacy for business advocacy network BusinessNZ, said: "I think New Zealand endeavors to conduct our international relations in a predictable and transparent way and with no surprises, which I think is good for the relationship and lessens the risks of misunderstandings."

Alistair Crozier, executive director of the New Zealand China Council, said the prime minister was careful to emphasize that any differences emerging between China and New Zealand should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, while adding New Zealand would maintain what Ardern described as its "fiercely independent" foreign policy.

"These messages are positive for the NZ-China relationship," Crozier said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349