New Zealand
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

US 'smears' our normal cooperation with Pacific nations: China

Beijing [China], June 1 (ANI): China on Wednesday opposed the recent US-New Zealand joint statement, saying it "distorts and smears" the country's normal cooperation with Pacific Island nations and "deliberately hypes" up the issues in the South China Sea.

This comes after US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to the Pacific Islands region.

They also raised concerns about the growing strategic competition in the Pacific region, which threatens to undermine existing institutions and arrangements that underpin the region's security.

"China hopes New Zealand to stick to independent diplomatic policy and engage in enhancing security mutual trust among regional countries and maintaining regional peace and stability," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response to the latest NZ-US joint statement.

"China firmly opposes to the joint statement that distorted and smeared China's normal cooperation with Pacific Island Countries, deliberately hyped up the South China Sea, made irresponsible remarks on China's internal affairs such as Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong," he added.

Zhao further said the US has military bases all over the world, yet raises "so-called concerns" about normal security cooperation between other countries.

In a joint statement, Biden and Ardern on Tuesday expressed concern about the security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands.

"In particular, the US and New Zealand share a concern that the establishment of a persistent military presence in the Pacific by a state that does not share our values or security interests would fundamentally alter the strategic balance of the region and pose national-security concerns to both our countries," the joint statement read.

Experts believe that China is seeking a regional agreement with Pacific island nations that would expand its role in policing, maritime cooperation, and cybersecurity.

Biden and Ardern also opposed unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea that run counter to the rules-based international order, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They reaffirmed support for freedom of navigation and overflight, in the South China Sea and beyond.

"We reiterate our grave concerns regarding the human rights violations in Xinjiang, and the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, which undermines the high degree of autonomy enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues," the statement added. (ANI)