Is the alliance having problems with China?

24-hour operation room in GCHQ, Cheltenham

The Five Eyes Group has been successful in sharing information among Western countries for decades.

The Five Eyes Alliance is an information sharing agreement between five English-speaking democracies (US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). It has evolved as a mechanism for monitoring the Soviet Union and sharing sensitive information during the Cold War. This is often referred to as the most successful intelligence alliance in the world. But lately it has suffered from embarrassing setbacks.

Four members jointly blamed Chinese treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region..They also have China’s de facto military takeover of the South China Sea, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong, and A threatening move to Taiwan that China has vowed to “regain” by 2049.. However, one country, New Zealand, is opting out of a confrontation with China.

Surprisingly, perhaps for a country that takes pride in respect for human rights, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta “feels uncomfortable” by expanding the role of the alliance by putting pressure on China. How to refuse to participate in this western accusation of Beijing. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted on Monday that the difference with China is “difficult to reconcile,” but the country still prefers to pursue its own bilateral relationship with Beijing.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta refused to participate in Beijing’s western accusations

The Chinese media is taking advantage of this, saying that wedges are being driven between two neighbors and allies in Australia and New Zealand.

China is New Zealand’s largest export market. New Zealand depends on China for nearly 30% of its exports, most of which are dairy products. As in Australia, the two polar neighbors clearly see China’s policy in a very different way.

The Australian federal government in Canberra has rejected China’s large-scale investment in Victoria, which is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative. This is due to the growing acquisition of economic assets around the world.

Meanwhile, China has imposed a series of damaging trade sanctions on Australia over the past year.

As the trade war between the two countries worsensAustralia’s wine exports to China fell 96% from the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of this year, from A $ 325 million (£ 181 million) to just A $ 12 million (660). It is reported to have decreased to (10,000 pounds). Meanwhile, New Zealand has been rewarded by Beijing for closer trade relations than ever before.

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison

Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand takes a different Chinese position than Scott Morrison of Australia

So what exactly does this have to do with intelligence sharing? There are few answers.

Last year, Five Eyes alliance officials assumed that view would apply to China as all five countries share the same worldview widely. In May 2020, the alliance agreed to extend its role from mere security and intelligence to a more public position on respect for human rights and democracy.

In November, the alliance criticized the Chinese government for suppressing democracy in Hong Kong. Beijing has introduced a new law to disqualify elected members In the former British colony. A Chinese government spokesman responded angry and ridiculed the Five Eyes Alliance, proclaiming that “those who dare to undermine China’s sovereignty will poke their eyes.”

Now, six months later, New Zealand’s withdrawal from China’s party line means that the newly expanded role of the Five Eyes seems to have ceased, questioning whether the alliance is in trouble. Some people do.

But that’s an exaggeration. This was about politics, not intelligence. New Zealand does not leave the alliance, it just distinguishes between the two. In retrospect, it was an overkill of what the Five Eyes intended: sharing secrets.

There will almost certainly be people in the New Zealand intelligence community who feel embarrassed that this will be done publicly.Much Most of the information shared within the alliance comes from Washington.. The next largest contributor is the UK, with feedback from GCHQ, MI6 and MI5. The contributions of Canada and Australia are fairly small.

For New Zealand, an intelligence review conducted in 2017 found that NZ contributed only one out of every 99 intelligences it received through the alliance. So when New Zealand leaves, there’s obviously a lot to lose.

In conclusion, then does the alliance transcend a unified diplomatic or political pressure group? It is unlikely at this stage. Is it an alliance for sharing information between allies in need? number.

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