On 2 March 2022, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chris Seed met virtually with his Chinese counterpart Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Xie Feng for New Zealand-China Foreign Affairs Consultations.
The consultations provided an opportunity to review the breadth of the bilateral relationship, at the start of the year marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“The bilateral relationship is multifaceted, encompassing significant economic, people-to-people, and cultural connections that have remained strong despite the challenges of COVID-19”, said Chris Seed.
The talks covered the economic and trade relationship, including the forthcoming entry into force of the NZ-China FTA Upgrade, as well as underscoring climate change and the environment as important strands of bilateral cooperation.
The two sides also addressed areas of difference. New Zealand registered concerns including regarding Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea as well as concerns regarding trade measures as raised in the WTO and elsewhere.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Vice Minister exchanged views on regional and international issues, including the Pacific, Antarctica and the multilateral system.
It was also a timely opportunity to discuss pressing international security challenges, including Russian aggression against Ukraine. Chris Seed reiterated New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine and encouraged China to use its access and influence as part of a strong and unified international response.
The Foreign Affairs Consultations complement other discussions with China which have taken place virtually over the past year, including the third Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change, Ministerial dialogue on Food Safety, primary sector dialogues, the Joint Trade and Economic Consultations, and the inaugural Finance dialogue.