Foreign Minister Winston Peters said that New Zealand (Reuters) – New Zealand suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made several other changes following China’s decision to pass a national security law for the region.
FILE PHOTO: New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters attended a news conference after attending an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on 22 March 2019. REUTERS / Murad Sezer
“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent of China,” Peters said in a statement.
“If China follows the framework of ‘one country, two systems’ in the future, we can reconsider this decision.”
Beijing enacted new legislation on the former British colony earlier this month, establishing a financial center on a more authoritarian track, despite opposition from Hong Kong residents and Western countries.
Australia, Canada and the UK suspended all extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month. US President Donald Trump has ended preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.
Peters said New Zealand would treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports with Hong Kong in the same manner as it considers such exports under review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong with China.
He said travel advice has been updated to be alert to the risks presented by New Zealand’s new security legislation.
In a website statement, the Chinese embassy in New Zealand called the decision a violation of international law and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.
A representative of the embassy said in the statement, “The Chinese side has registered its serious concern and strong opposition.”
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade recently exceeding NZ $ 32 billion ($ 21 billion).
New Zealand’s relationship with China has recently erupted after China supported Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO).
Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Sam Holmes and Clarence Fernandez