December 15, 2020
By Praveen Menon
Wellington (Reuters) -New Zealand’s new foreign minister said on Tuesday that he was ready to assist in negotiations between neighboring Australia and the region’s heavyweight China, which are involved in intensifying trade and diplomatic turmoil.
Nanaia Mafta, 50, said New Zealand provided an opportunity for both parties to participate by hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which will be the focus of attention next year.
“Do you think New Zealand has the opportunity to create a different environment and have conversations? Yes, yes,” Mr. Muffta said in an interview with Reuters at the unique Beehive Parliament building in Wellington.
“And I think hosting APEC may be an opportunity … but the parties will be willing to make concessions together in some areas that are currently out of sight,” Muffta said. Said.
Relations have deteriorated over Australia’s new foreign interference and investment laws, calling for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and Chinese blocks in Australia’s exports.
Tensions worsened last month after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman posted a digitally manipulated image of an Australian soldier holding a bloody knife in the throat of an Afghan child.
New Zealand has expressed concern to China about the use of images.
“I don’t think Twitter’s diplomacy can be achieved if disinformation is promoted through social media. Make sure the dialogue and doors are open so that people can tackle some difficult problems. I think we need to go back to trial-and-error diplomacy, “said Muffta.
Muffta recently joined the five eyes intelligence partners Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States and accused China of disqualifying the Hong Kong legislature.
This offended China and warned the Western Union that it could be “eye-catching.”
Like Australia, New Zealand has a major trade relationship with China and has long been promoted by Beijing as a “first” example with Western nations.
However, under the administration of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who won his second term in October, he criticized China’s lending to the small Pacific islands and raised concerns about Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. He supported Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). Warning from Beijing.
Alexander Gillespie, a law professor at the University of Waikato, said New Zealand is still in a good position to try to mediate some sort of sedative.
“There is no guarantee that both sides will be able to sit and talk calmly. It’s a very, very long way, but it’s going in a different direction than we’re currently doing.” He said.
Mahuta, the first Maori indigenous woman to post, emphasized New Zealand’s “Fakapapa,” a kinship dating back to the Asian region.
“This allows us to navigate our relationship with China in a slightly different way than in other countries,” she said.
Little known outside New Zealand, Mahuta was a surprising choice as Ardern’s Foreign Minister in New Zealand’s most diverse cabinet.
The facial tattoos on her chin as a symbol of her Mokokaue, or her Maori heritage, have received a lot of attention.
“Curiosity is a valid word,” she said when asked how people reacted to her.
Mr. Mafta sees his position as an opportunity to create different types of dialogue in the field of diplomacy and has discussed common issues such as the role of women in society and gender equality with other women in other foreign ministry. Stated. And the environment.
“I have a cultural perspective that transcends generations. It firmly captures the New Zealand context, which was not completely smooth given the way indigenous peoples were addressed here and the history of colonization. “She said.
(This story is modified to correct the description of Xinjiang to the region rather than the state in paragraph 12)
(Report by Praveen Menon, edited by Lincoln Feast.)
New Zealand wants to be an arbitrator between Australia and China
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