On Tuesday, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced his country has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and implemented several other changes to its foreign policy following the enactment of Beijing’s national security law in the city.
“It is important that New Zealand responds proportionately and deliberately to the passage of the national security law … New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” said Peters in a statement.
His announcement puts New Zealand in line with most of its counterparts in the Five Eyes alliance, with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom all suspending their extradition treaties with Hong Kong in recent weeks. While the United States has yet to end its treaty, it has recently been signalling it will do the same.
The US has, however, ended preferential treatment for Hong Kong.
Five eyes reaction to national security law
This response follows Beijing’s imposition of what many deem to be a draconian national security law in early July 2020 which would prohibit all acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the one country, two systems framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,” he stated.
Along with the decision to halt extraditions to Hong Kong, the New Zealand government will also revise its policy on the export of military, dual-use goods and technology. Such exports to Hong Kong will now be treated in the same way as exports to mainland China.
Peters also announced that New Zealand has updated travel advice to inform New Zealanders to the risks posed by the new security law.
However, Peters did stress that the review of its relationship with Hong Kong will be ongoing, saying that, “If China in future shows adherence to the one country, two systems framework then we could reconsider this decision.”
In response to Peters’ statement, the Chinese embassy in Wellington delivered a strongly worded statement saying that the new measures are “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”
“The Chinese side urges the New Zealand side to abide by the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any forms to avoid further harm to China-New Zealand relations,” read the response.
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