Jacinda Ardern says differences between New Zealand’s and China’s values and interests are “becoming harder to reconcile” as Beijing’s role in the world grows and changes.
In a speech at the China Business Summit in Auckland on Monday, the New Zealand Prime Minister said there were issues on which China and New Zealand “do not, cannot, and will not agree”, but said those differences need not define their relationship.
“It will not have escaped the attention of anyone here that as China’s role in the world grows and changes, the differences between our systems – and the interests and values that shape those systems – are becoming harder to reconcile,” she said.
“This is a challenge that we, and many other countries across the Indo-Pacific region, but also in Europe and other regions, are also grappling with.”
Ms Ardern’s comments come amid growing tension between China and some of New Zealand’s key partners, especially Australia and the United States.