New Zealand Prime Minister Directly Undermines Biden On China

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Chris Hipkins, the New Zealand prime minister, said on Thursday that he did not agree with President Joe Biden’s recent assessment of Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator.”

Hipkins will be making an official visit to China by the end of June. Reporters asked him if he agreed with Biden’s view of Xi as the authoritarian leader of the Chinese Communist Party. Prime Minister said that China’s internal governance is a matter of the Chinese people.

Hipkins told Reuters that the Chinese people are responsible for deciding the type of government they want. “If they want to change their government system, that is a matter of the Chinese people.”

Biden’s administration has invested heavily in the Pacific region to counteract Chinese influence, especially on islands near New Zealand. Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary at State of the United States of America, visited New Zealand as part of her five-country tour of the region in August 2022. She signed agreements to further cooperate on emergency management and space exploration.

New Zealand, after years of relatively close cooperation with Beijing, has also adopted a more aggressive stance against China. Jacinda Ardern, then-Prime Minister of New Zealand, raised concerns over human rights violations in the South China Sea as well as aggression in Taiwan Strait and Taiwan Strait in December 2022 during a meeting between Xi and Jacinda.

New Zealand is part of the intelligence alliance “Five Eyes”, which includes Australia, Canada and the United States.

The CCP blasted Biden for calling Xi a “dictator” and characterized his comments as “a grave disregard for basic factual information” and “open provocation.” Biden reaffirmed his remarks on Thursday, saying he did not think they would have “any real consequences.”