New Zealand won’t be dragged into US hostilities with China, with which it has a ‘mature’ relationship that allows for disputes and differences to be resolved in a calm manner, PM Jacinda Ardern said.
Ardern was prompted several times to take a stance on the confrontation between the US and China during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd. A question that was asked by Chuck Todd of NBC was whether New Zealanders consider China to be an enemy. “ally or adversary,”To which, the prime minister stated that her people would not “determine our relationship with any country in such stacked terms.”
China is New Zealand’s biggest trading partner, which, Ardern said, does not inhibit her country from criticizing Beijing when it sees fit.
In our relationships, we have the maturity to bring up issues that are important to us.
Commenting on the rift that New Zealand’s neighbor, Australia, has had with China after siding with the US in its great power competition against Beijing, Ardern said these tensions “will not change the way we behave.”
“It’s important to us that we continue to have… integrity, to raise those issues that concern us,”She added that her country would use mechanisms such the World Trade Organization for resolving trade disputes “regardless of what happens in diplomatic circles.”
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Asked by Todd whether she thinks Biden’s America is “still the leading democracy in the world,” Ardern said the US “has an incredibly important role to play in the Pacific region.” She added that Washington should have greater engagement, not just in terms of “issues viewed through a strategic defense lens.”
“We would really welcome the US presence in some of that economic architecture, increasing those trading relationships in our region. We welcome any signaling that demonstrates that that’s where the US is heading towards,”She said.
Ardern explained that the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (TPP), which was abandoned by Donald Trump and which China seeks to join in one form or another, serves as a template for multilateral trade agreements. According to Ardern, any country that is open to accepting the TPP’s standards will be allowed to join.
Todd wanted to know if there was a line, which, if crossed. “New Zealand or any other country”A nation with poor human rights records would be unable to trade with it. Ardern said that “value judgements”These are included in the TPP.
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