New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters on Tuesday said that the country has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes following China’s decision to pass a national security law for the territory.
Peters said in a statement that “New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,”
“If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision”, the minister further added.
Earlier this month, Beijing imposed new legislation on the former British colony despite protests from Hong Kong and Western nations, setting the financial hub on a more authoritarian track.
Peters said New Zealand will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as it treats such exports to China as part of a review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong.
China had passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong prohibiting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security on July 1.
The proposal, which has been condemned by the United States and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures as an assault on the city’s freedoms, was tabled on the opening day of the week-long National People’s Congress.
Hong Kong has been gripped for several years by political unrest and demonstrations, which had been gaining momentum in the months leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, which led to them being suspended.
New Zealand’s ties with China have frayed recently after the pacific nation backed Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization (WHO).
(With inputs from agency)