China’s embassy in New Zealand has criticized Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for comments she made at a NATO summit about Beijing’s provocative behaviour, calling the remarks “misleading” and “wrong”.
Ardern said yesterday, Wednesday, in Madrid that China has “become more aggressive in recent times, wanting to challenge the provisions and rules of international law.”
“We have to note the relevant comment made by the New Zealand side at the NATO conference, which includes some misleading claims against China,” a spokesman said in a statement posted on the embassy’s website yesterday.
“It is obvious that such a comment does not help to deepen the mutual trust between the two countries,” according to the same statement.
New Zealand, heavily dependent on China for trade, has often avoided directly criticizing Beijing.
However, it has recently hardened its tone on both security issues and Beijing’s growing presence in the South Pacific region, following the recent signing of a security agreement between China and the neighboring Solomon Islands.
The Chinese embassy also referred to comments made by Ardern about an attempt to cause disruption and instability in the Pacific, saying that any escalation of tension in the Pacific “cannot be caused by China’s cooperation with its island partners towards of sustainable development.
This kind of cooperation has nothing to do with the militarization of the region, the same statement added. “If there is militarization in the South Pacific, it is clear who, but also why, is igniting such tensions”, it is emphasized.