Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, has concluded her visit to China – the first by a New Zealand Foreign Minister in five years.
The Minister met her counterpart, newly appointed State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang (pictured), who also hosted a working dinner.
“Our discussions were wide-ranging, covering all aspects of our bilateral relationship,” Ms Mahuta said.
“I noted the resilience of our bilateral trade through COVID-19. With borders now open in both directions, reconnecting people will be priority this year, with students, tourists and business people resuming travel.
“We look forward to the resumption of a range of in-person high level discussions and officials’ dialogues, including on foreign affairs, climate change, human rights, the Pacific, and trade, which provide a valuable platform for engagement,” she said.
The Minister said she observed that, alongside areas of cooperation, areas where New Zealand and China disagree form part of a comprehensive and mature relationship.
“I noted New Zealand’s deep concerns regarding the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong,” she said.
The Ministers also had in-depth discussions on regional and international issues. Ms Mahuta said she expressed New Zealand’s concerns over developments in the South China Sea and increasing tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Minister Mahuta also reiterated New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and restated New Zealand’s commitment to the UN Charter and its defence of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Aotearoa New Zealand would be concerned by any provision of lethal aid in support of Russia’s illegal war,” Ms Mahuta said.
She also met with Politburo member, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, building on their previous engagements.
The Ministers discussed the possibility of a visit by the Prime Minister to China this year at a mutually agreeable time.
“I emphasised Aotearoa New Zealand’s interest in a peaceful, stable and resilient Pacific region and the importance of engaging through existing regional institutions and arrangements, in particular on regional security matters,” she said.