fredag 3. juli 2020

Anne Marie Brady: New Zealand’s Quiet China Shift

In February 2018, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters quipped to the New Zealand Parliament that “the art of diplomacy is to jump into troubled waters without making a splash.” Since 2017, the New Zealand government has attempted to make a calculated correction in its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), without any deterioration in New Zealand’s overall relationship with the great power.

In the last three years, New Zealand, once merely famous for its scenery, has become infamous as the Five Eyes nation with a particularly bad case of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) political interference activities. New Zealand is characterized as the “soft underbelly” of the Five Eyes or the weakest link. A January 2020 Financial Timesarticle asserted that New Zealand is “on the edge of viability as a member” of its allied relationships, because of its “supine” attitude to China and its “compromised political system.” The New Zealand government has been accused of lacking the “political will” to tackle the CCP’s harmful activities in the country. New Zealand’s response to handling problems in the China relationship has also frequently been compared unfavorably to Australia’s. New Zealand has been criticized for a perceived reluctance to join with other states to speak up on matters of concern with China.