NZ to review relationship with Hong Kong after new security law passes

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 8:03PM
(Photo / Getty)

NZ to review relationship with Hong Kong after new security law passes

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 8:03PM

The New Zealand Government is "reviewing the settings of its relationship" with Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced.

It follows the introduction of a national security law by Beijing that criminalises forms of political protest with penalties including life imprisonment.

Peters said the new national security law had "fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there".

"New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong.

"Accordingly, the Government has directed officials to review all of New Zealand's policy settings with respect to Hong Kong to determine the appropriate nature of our cooperation going forward.

"This will be a deliberate, considered review across all of our settings, including extradition arrangements, controls on exports of strategic goods, and travel advice.

"New Zealand shares the international community's significant and longstanding stake in Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. We will continue to monitor the law's impact on the people of Hong Kong, with whom we share close links," Peters said.

Earlier today, the Government's travel advisory warned New Zealanders in Hong Kong they face an increased risk of arrest.

"This legislation could be interpreted broadly, leading to increased risk of arrest and prosecution on national security grounds for a wide range of activity, including protest activity," the SafeTravel website said.

It coincides with the Australian government's advisory to its citizens in Hong Kong, warning Australians who visit the city "may be at increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds".

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was already advising travellers not to travel to China - or anywhere overseas - because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The news from across the Tasman comes after a Canadian government official told Reuters foreign ministers from the Five Eyes group discussed the situation in Hong Kong during a conference call.

The official declined to elaborate. The Five Eyes group is Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Separately, Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted he discussed with his counterparts from the other countries many issues regarding international peace and security.

Last week, Peters questioned the controversial new security law, saying it was a critical moment for fundamental human rights and freedoms protected in Hong Kong for generations.

- By RNZ