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New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta's Visit to China: Prospects and Challenges

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New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahutas Visit to China Prospects and Challenges

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta's Visit to China: Prospects and Challenges

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta recently concluded her visit to China, marking the first high-level visit by a New Zealand official to China in four years. The visit comes at a time when the two countries are looking to enhance their cooperation on various fronts, including trade and security. In this article, we will examine the prospects and challenges of Mahuta's visit to China.

Enhancing Economic Ties:

During her visit, Mahuta held talks with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and other senior Chinese officials. One of the key objectives of the visit was to enhance economic ties between the two countries. China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, and the two countries have a free trade agreement (FTA) that came into effect in 2008. However, the FTA has not been updated since then, and there are concerns that it may not be meeting the needs of the two countries.

To address this issue, Mahuta proposed the establishment of a joint trade and economic commission between New Zealand and China. The commission would focus on identifying new opportunities for trade and investment and addressing any issues that may be hindering the growth of bilateral trade.

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Mahuta also announced that New Zealand will be participating in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) later this year. This is the world's largest import expo, and New Zealand's participation is expected to boost its exports to China.

Challenges:

Mahuta's visit to China comes amid growing tensions between China and some of its traditional allies, including the United States and Australia. New Zealand has tried to maintain a balanced approach to its relations with China and the United States, but it has faced criticism from some quarters for not taking a stronger stance against China's human rights record and its actions in the South China Sea.

During her visit, Mahuta reiterated New Zealand's commitment to the One China policy, which recognizes the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate government of China. She also expressed concern about the recent military buildup in the South China Sea and called for a peaceful resolution of disputes in the region.

Another challenge that Mahuta's visit to China may face is the issue of cybersecurity. New Zealand, like many other countries, has expressed concern about the security risks posed by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. New Zealand banned Huawei from participating in its 5G network rollout in 2018, citing national security concerns. However, China has been pressuring New Zealand to reverse its decision, and this issue may come up during Mahuta's talks with Chinese officials.

Overall, Mahuta's visit to China is a positive development for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. It provides an opportunity for New Zealand and China to enhance their economic ties and explore new areas of cooperation. However, there are also challenges that need to be addressed, including concerns about China's human rights record, its actions in the South China Sea, and cybersecurity issues. Nevertheless, Mahuta's visit to China is a step in the right direction and shows that both countries are committed to maintaining a constructive and cooperative relationship.

Keywords: New Zealand, China, trade, economic ties, cybersecurity, South China Sea, One China policy, Huawei, human rights.

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