Otago Daily Times

China’s de­sire for more trade ‘pos­i­tive’

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Pat English, formerly New Zealand’s trade com­mis­sioner in China and also a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive director of the New Zealand China Council, said while there had been ‘‘rip­ples’’ in this coun­try’s trade with China, the an­nounce­ment was pos­i­tive.

Asked on Morn­ing Re­port if Mr

Xi’s com­ments were cred­i­ble, he said if the pol­icy was be­ing out­lined in the Apec fo­rum, there was no doubt it was true, even if it would be in­ter­preted and im­ple­mented in a Chi­nese way.

New Zealand has 0.2% of global trade and 0.6% of China’s to­tal im­ports, so any pos­i­tive state­ment from China on trade could be wel­comed, Mr English said.

In a state­ment is­sued on Thurs­day night, a Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesman warned coun­tries to stay out of China’s af­fairs say­ing: ‘‘They should be care­ful or their eyes will be plucked out.

‘‘The Chi­nese never make trou­ble and are never afraid of any­thing,’’ Zhao Li­jian told jour­nal­ists in Bei­jing yes­ter­day, say­ing it did not ‘‘mat­ter if they had five or 10 eyes’’.

Mr English said: ‘‘We seem to want to say to China: ‘Open up your doors and trade with us and buy from us, par­tic­u­larly buy from us’, and then when China takes a stand on other is­sues that are im­por­tant to them we have to

say: ‘well, China, you need to back off’.

‘‘. . . We can’t man­age these sorts of sit­u­a­tions through the me­dia, and in the me­dia . . . if you’re in the room with China sit­ting down talk­ing about it, dis­cussing those is­sues with China, that’s how you bring it to the ta­ble.’’

Mr English said the re­cent state­ment by the Five Eyes net­work crit­i­cis­ing China’s ac­tions in Hong Kong should be taken up with the Prime Min­is­ter. — RNZ

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