Four of the members have jointly condemned China's treatment of its Uyghur population in Xinjiang province. They have also expressed concern over China's de facto military takeover of the South China Sea, its suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and its threatening moves towards Taiwan, which China has vowed to "take back" by 2049. One country, though, has opted out of confronting China: New Zealand.
Surprisingly, perhaps, for a nation that prides itself on respect for human rights, New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta declined to join in this Western condemnation of Beijing, saying "it felt uncomfortable" with expanding the alliance's role by putting pressure on China in this way. Although New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted on Monday that its differences with China are becoming "harder to reconcile", the country still prefers to pursue its own bilateral relations with Beijing.