New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern likely to discuss Huawei on her 1-day China tour

Among the things she is likely to discuss with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang are, potential upgrade to the 2008 FTA and NZ’s transparency on blocking Huawei Technology’s bid to create a 5G network in the country.

On Monday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern disclosed she hoped to have a dialogue with China over the country’s decision to reject Huawei Technologies’ bid to build a 5G mobile network.

Ardern is on a one-day visit to China and is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Premier Li Keqiang later today.

Briefing reporters before the meetings, Ardern made it clear that there has been no political or diplomatic influence in the matter and layed out the process New Zealand followed in the Huawei decision.

“This is an opportunity to have a dialogue to talk about the way the process has been undertaken to date and where it currently stands,” said Ardern.

Ardern’s interview was streamed on New Zealand’s 1NEWS.

New Zealand is not the only country which is seeing strained ties with China over Huawei. Concerns have been raised over Chinese influence in the South Pacific and on Huawei being a front for Chinese intelligence. Intelligence agencies across the globe including from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and UK, have pointed this out.

Last month, China postponed a major tourism campaign in New Zealand days before its launch raising concerns of strained ties over China’s growing influence in the Pacific.

While acknowledging complexities in New Zealand’s relationship with China, Ardern dismissed concerns of a rift China – New Zealand’s largest trading partner.

Her trip to China was reduced to just 1 day following a deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 which resulted in the death of 50 people.

Ardern stated, she also anticipated talks of an upgrade to their 2008 free trade agreement.

In a letter to Arden, New York-based Human Rights Watch, called on her to publicly express concerns over the genocide taking place in Xinjiang.

China is facing growing international opprobrium over a controversial de-radicalization program in the heavily Muslim populated Xinjiang where it is running internment camps.

Calling them vocational training centers, China has defended its need to de-radicalize a part of the country where the government has blamed Islamist extremists and separatists for multiple attacks in which hundreds have died in recent years.

Ardern stated, while New Zealand has raised the issue of human rights for the Uighur Muslims, in the past, she however did not specify whether the subject would be discussed in the meetings today.

“Human rights issues are things that New Zealand routinely raises in our bilaterals with China,” said Ardern.

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