New Zealand government does not criticize China for WHOCOVID-19 inquiries

In New Zealand, 13 countries, including New Zealand’s Five Eyes partners in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, “access, transparency and timeliness of the WHO research report in a joint statement released in March.”

Each country has research on the origin of the virus Verified “Access to the complete original data and samples was significantly delayed and could not be accessed,” by a member of the investigation team hampered by the Chinese Communist Party government.

The Ardern government said it did not want to join Australia or any other ally as it would take more time to investigate the WHO’s 319-page document. Although the report is distributed Among WHO members for a few days.

“New Zealand is pleased with the release of the report,” said a spokeswoman for New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Told the australian.. “This is a scientific report, so I want to make sure I understand science before commenting.”

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Wellington, New Zealand – November 2: Newly appointed Foreign Minister Nanaia Muffta will speak at a Labor Party press conference in Wellington, New Zealand on November 2, 2020. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images)

However, he did not blame China because WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom shared his own concerns about the effectiveness of the investigation. Tedros claimed that some data had been withdrawn from a WHO-led team that came to China in January and February to investigate the origin of the pandemic.

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World Health Organization Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyes is shaking hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when he arrives at the meeting at the Beijing Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 17, 2018. (AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein, pool)

“In discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing the raw data,” Tedros said.

“We hope that future collaborative research will include more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”

Other governments that have signed the statement include the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, and Slovenia.

Five Eyes Alliance “Soft Underberry”

The reluctance of the Ardern government to condemn the controversial investigation has drawn attention to its relationship with Beijing. The country has previously refused to include its name in statements issued by other Five Eyes nations accusing Beijing of arresting Hong Kong’s democracy activists.

In January, Global Times praised New Zealand’s signing of an upgraded free trade agreement with China as a “wise move” and as an Australian “model” trying to challenge the administration for an independent investigation. He said it should be useful. Origin of Covid-19.

Concerns were also expressed in May last year after New Zealand became the first Five Eyes country to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. This is considered China’s global plan to expand its geopolitical influence.

“Small New Zealand may seem like a strange target for Communist penetration, but as a soft underside of a” five-eyed “information sharing agreement with Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and, most importantly, the United States. The country is attractive to Beijing. ” Opinion piece It was published in the British Financial Times last year.

According to the report, some of New Zealand’s major political parties’ largest donors are Chinese businessmen with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party. In July 2020, a New Zealand parliamentarian was allowed to maintain his position after acknowledging the training of Chinese espionage and was ordered by the party to keep past secrets.

“Mr. Ardern didn’t bother her to avoid even mentioning the topic of China’s political interference, perhaps fearing Beijing would respond with economic sanctions,” the editorial wrote.

In January, New Zealand’s Trade Minister Damien O’Connor suggested that Australia could reconnect with China by giving “respect” to the administration, adding that New Zealand has a “mature” relationship with China. Infuriated the Australian Federal Government.

“if [Australia] Was to follow us and pay homage, I sometimes guess a little more diplomacy and pay attention to the wording, they could hopefully be in a similar situation [with China],” He said.

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Beijing, China – April 1: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (R) will meet with Chinese Prime Minister Lee Katsuqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on April 1, 2019. (KYODO NEWS / Naohiko Hatta / Pool)

O’Connor later apologized for the statement and called directly to members of the Morrison government to apologize for his rant.

New Zealand from 2000 to 2020 export $ 16.7 billion worth of goods to China are more than double that of Australia, the next largest export market. At the end of 2019, China was also New Zealand’s largest commodity market It is also the second largest source of information for tourists and the largest source of information for international students.

Professor Anne-Marie Brady, a Chinese expert at the University of Canterbury, wrote in Diplomat magazine last year: In China’s policy, and so far, it seems to have overcome it. “

Brady said the New Zealand government’s approach is to avoid facing the administration directly.

“New Zealand … is trying to find a safe way to deal with China’s growing political interference and aggressive foreign policy,” she wrote.