Madrid, 31 (Europe Press)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Monday defended that China would “not interfere” in their bilateral relations and criticized all those who “seek to divide” the Asian giant.
In their first meeting in over a year, they both made it clear that “decoupling” policies between Canberra and Wellington would not succeed because neighboring countries “hold together” when it comes to exchanging “values and principles”.
Morrison said: “We will continue to work in this direction, and I have no doubt that there will be those who seek to undermine the security of Australia and New Zealand by creating disagreements that do not exist.”
Thus the prime minister referred to “very far away” countries, although he did not explicitly mention China. For his part, Ardern noted during a joint press conference in Queenstown that “there are no disagreements about the importance of maintaining a perspective on issues such as trade or human rights.”
According to information from the Sydney Morning Herald, he said, “Australia and New Zealand are in a completely similar situation regarding these issues. (…) The family is very important, and Australia is for us the family.”
Thus, the two expressed concern about the “degradation of freedoms” in Hong Kong, the treatment of the ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang and the “militarization” of the South China Sea.
In addition, they addressed what they considered “harmful economic coercion”, in reference to Beijing’s retaliatory trade campaign against Canberra after the Australian government called for an independent investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus.
On the one hand, they have downplayed recent diplomatic tensions, including the Australian policy that allows people with a criminal record to be deported to New Zealand even though they have lived their entire lives on Australian soil.
The meeting took place after New Zealand Foreign Minister Nana Mahota warned last month that Wellington was not “comfortable” with publicly criticizing Beijing by the “Five Eyes” coalition of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. States.