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NZ should not be hijacked by Five Eyes, observers warn after Wellington suspends extradition treaty with HK

Global Times

By Zhang Han Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/28 19:43:40

New Zealand on Tuesday announced the suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, the fourth country to do so in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, but Chinese analysts warned on Tuesday Wellington not to play petty tricks, hoping to show loyalty to the anti-China coalition without damaging bilateral ties with Beijing.

New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peters said on Tuesday in a statement that it is important that the country responds proportionately and deliberately to the passage of the national security law for Hong Kong, which he claimed undermined the "one country, two systems" principle, local media reported Tuesday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said New Zealand's move was based on a wrong interpretation of the national security legislation for Hong Kong and China reserves the right to further respond.

China urged New Zealand to stop meddling in Hong Kong's affairs in any form to further avoid damaging bilateral relations, ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Tuesday's routine press conference.

On the same day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the suspension of extradition treaties between Hong Kong and Canada, with Australia and the UK having halted their extradition agreements with Hong Kong earlier.

A similar policy could be imposed against New Zealand via the principles of reciprocity, analysts said, noting that China gave New Zealand some time to reconsider its stance over Hong Kong-related affairs but like the Foreign Ministry said, the Chinese government is unwavering on its determination to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests.

Four members of the Five Eyes network have halted extradition agreements with Hong Kong and the US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to impose sanctions on Hong Kong, including ending the city's special status and tearing up an extradition treaty with it.

Washington has been re-molding the Five Eyes alliance in its devious campaign against China, and members of this alliance have been manipulated as chess pieces. Regretfully, New Zealand's latest move shows it finally joined the multinational anti-China coalition, Chen Hong, director of the New Zealand Studies Center at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Suspending the treaty is a low-cost move for New Zealand to show its loyalty to the Five Eyes, but it is daydreaming to play petty tricks of pleasing the anti-China coalition without damaging its relationship with China, analysts said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday the country has a "mature" relationship with China, but Chen noted the country is aligning with the US, obviously overriding the China-New Zealand relationship.

Wellington should take comprehensive and far-sighted considerations when handling its relations with China.

"China values its relationship with New Zealand, and does not want bilateral relations to deteriorate, but regarding matters of China's core interests, we will definitely and resolutely respond," Chen said.

China is New Zealand's top trading partner since 2017. In 2019, 23 percent of New Zealand's total goods and services exports and 16 percent of imports by value were conducted with China. Two-way trade in goods and services was worth $33.4 billion, according to data from the New Zealand government.

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