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Winston Peters: Suspension of Hong Kong extradition treaty not interference from New Zealand

Foreign Minister Winston Peters refutes China's accusation of interference from New Zealand after it suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, calling it a "misuse of language".

In light of China deciding to pass a contentious new national security law in Hong Kong, New Zealand this week suspended its extradition agreement with the semi-autonomous financial hub.

How we treat the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong has also been changed, as has travel advice, which now includes information about the security law.

"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," Mr Peters said when announcing the suspension on Tuesday.

Both the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand and China's Foreign Ministry quickly responded, accusing New Zealand of "gross interference in China's internal affairs".

Mr Peters told Newshub Nation on Saturday that New Zealand wanted the Middle Kingdom to uphold its commitment to the 'one country, two systems' principle it set out when Hong Kong was transferred to China in 1997. 

"You can look at the language where it is said that they have hit back, but the reality is I was there as New Zealand's representative in 1997 in the handover of Hong Kong and the 'one country, two systems' guarantee that the Chinese government gave at that occasion," Peters said. 

"Everybody understands it, and, so, to say it's an interference from New Zealand or other countries is really a massive misuse of language. It's nothing of the sort. What we're saying is, 'We trusted you in your commitment of 1997. Please honour it, and if you do, we will review our position.'"

Mr Peters said we have a "two-way system of reliability when it comes to trade". 

"[The Chinese Communist] Party is very much aware of the need to feed their population and to try and keep the escalators of progress going. They are as dependent upon our trade as we are upon them."

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