South Asia and Beyond

New Zealand Plays It Safe

Is the Five Eye intelligence sharing arrangement in trouble? Of the five members that make up the arrangement, four (the US, Canada, UK and Australia) have condemned China’s treatment of its Uyghur population, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and Beijing’s muscle flexing in the South China Sea.

But the fifth member New Zealand, known for its strong stand on human rights, has said it is not comfortable with condemning China’s action by expanding the role of the intelligence network. The reason is probably trade with 30 per cent of New Zealand’s exports, mostly dairy products, going to China. Australia is in a similar position, yet has broken with Beijing and shrugged off the damaging consequences to its exports to China.