BEIJING, June 3: Beijing condemned the joint statement made by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern, on the issues pertaining to Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Speaking at a press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that leaders of two countries made “irresponsible remarks” on its internal affairs and made groundless accusations against China. “The leaders of Australia and New Zealand, with irresponsible remarks on China’s internal affairs relating to Hong Kong and Xinjiang as well as the South China Sea issue, have made groundless accusations against China, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs,” Wenbin said.
He further said it is not justifiable for relevant countries to say and do wrong things on issues bearing on the sovereignty and security of a third country.
This comes after Australian PM Morrison, in a joint presser with New Zealand counterpart Ardern, said their policies with regard to China won’t divide the neighboring countries as they stood ‘resolutely together’ on shared values and principles.
As Morrison and Ardern used their first face-to-face meeting in 15 months to play down signs of division over China, the Australian PM said those who wished to split Canberra and Wellington over their policy towards Beijing would not succeed, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“We will continue to work together in that way, and I have no doubt there will be those who seek to undermine Australia and New Zealand’s security by seeking to create points of difference, which are not there,” he added.
In a joint declaration, the two leaders called on Beijing to respect their human rights and grant the United Nations and other independent observers unfettered access to Xinjiang.
On the World Health Organisation’s inquiry into the origins of the pandemic, both leaders told reporters they hoped the global health body’s investigation would continue.
“It has got nothing to do with global politics,” Morrison said. “This has nothing to do with anything other than ensuring that the global pandemic, which has caused such havoc around the world, stealing lives and livelihoods, that we understand how this occurred so we can do everything we possibly can to ensure that it does not happen again.”
On Indo-Pacific, both Australia and New Zealand wanted a free and peaceful Indo-Pacific region and would work to ensure that goal was not threatened by rising tensions between the United States and China.
“The world is being characterized by increased strategic competition between the US and China, that is a self-evident fact,” he said. “I would say our shared view is that such strategic competition does not need to lead to an increased likelihood of conflict.”
Last year, China imposed a harsh national security law on Hong Kong following the anti-government protests. The protests were sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill with mainland China.
Since then, the pro-China Hong Kong administration has launched a crackdown against pro-democracy advocates and has arrested more than 10,200 people in connection with the anti-government protests.
Meanwhile, in Xinjiang, China has been accused of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other religious minorities.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education.
Beijing, on the other hand, continues to deny that it is engaging in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.