China strengthens relations with New Zealand

China strengthens relations with New Zealand

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in New Zealand on Monday for a rare visit to the Pacific nation, where he stressed the need to work with… friends “China in the international context” troubled Wang Yi's presence in New Zealand marks the beginning of a diplomatic tour that will also take him to neighboring Australia, his first visit to both countries since 2017.

The diplomat is expected to discuss trade issues, as China seeks solutions to its slowing economic growth. From Wellington, before his meeting with his New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters, Wang Yi explained that his visit was an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations. These are being tested by Beijing's increasingly aggressive stance toward Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

Tensions in the South Sea: China flexes its muscles and says it will “defend” its rights in the region

In the face of the current turbulent international situation, we aim to strengthen strategic engagement with our friends in New Zealand on common international and regional issues Wang Yi said.

We will work together to maintain peace and stability in the region and the world He added before a closed meeting with Winston Peters.

A planned visit to Australia..

New Zealand, a member of the Five Eyes Alliance, an alliance that includes American, Canadian, British and Australian intelligence services, has been criticized for its softness towards China, preferring to put its trade relations before the security concerns of its allies.

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, with products such as meat, wine, milk and timber very popular with the Chinese. ” Our relationship developed smoothly and well Wang Yi estimated.

The latter is scheduled to meet with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Canberra later this week. ” I think Wang Yi's visit is a good thing Last Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced to the press, referring to “ Remarkable progress » With regard to lifting trade barriers.

…After several years of deep disagreements

China and Australia have recently settled several trade disputes, including steep tariffs and barriers to key Australian exports. As a reminder, relations between Beijing and Canberra have witnessed several years of coldness. In 2018, the Australian government excluded Chinese conglomerate Huawei from any involvement in the country's 5G network, and then in 2020 requested an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

Australia strengthens economic ties with ASEAN countries to reduce dependence on China

In response, China imposed high tariffs on key Australian exports such as barley, beef and wine and halted coal imports. Relations improved after the election of a centre-left government in Australia in 2022, but deep disagreements remain over human rights and China's growing diplomatic and military influence in the Pacific.

Beijing lifted heavy customs duties on barley as well as bans on timber imports and resumed coal purchases. However, the two countries remain at odds over human rights and Beijing's growing ambitions in the Pacific region.

In early March, Australia strengthened its economic ties with ASEAN countries to reduce its dependence on China. Canberra then said it wanted to increase its investment in the region by allocating $1.3 billion. The stated goal is to encourage business activity in an area of ​​growing economic strength.

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As a reminder, in 2022, Australia's bilateral trade with ASEAN members exceeded $178 billion. More than Australia trades with Japan or the United States. However, China remains Australia's largest trading partner. The latter still sends 30% of its exports there today.

(With AFP)

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