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The year 1945 did not simply represent the end of the second war, but it also signaled the beginning of new relationships between various countries. China’s foreign relations determine its relationships with other nations. Since China is a great power, its foreign policy is extremely valuable. The major aim of this policy is to uphold the integrity, independence, and sovereignty of China. The relationship that China and New Zealand have had can be discussed as follows.
In 1971, President Nixon mentioned that his government had abolished isolationist strategy on communist china, which USA had been practicing since 1949. Moreover, China established a more cordial relationship with USA than with the Soviet Union. New Zealand found it increasingly necessary to corporate with China to avoid confrontational dealings with the dominant powers that had an interest in the Pacific region.
New Zealand was in excellent terms with Japan, and it was also allied to USA. Even though it did not have significant relationships with Moscow, it cooperated with the Soviet Union. Therefore, the only gap New Zealand had to link was China. The desire for additional markets also motivated New Zealand to communicate with China. This is because China had a considerable market potential since it is populous.
In this case, “New Zealand faced the challenge of how it could establish a relationship with the people of Republic without jettisoning Taiwan, as required by the people of the Republic”?
Apart from New Zealand, other nations like Canada had also faced this hurdle before. “New Zealand’s official relationship with China began under the Labor Government of Normzan Kirk when diplomatic relations were established in 1972, the same year as the Kissinger-Nixon ‘ping pong diplomacy”.
“Besides China, Norman Kirk established diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union, Latin America, and the Middle East”. Kirk was initially reluctant to recognize China and his recognition of China was only precipitated by the fact that Australia had shifted its focus to Beijing.
The Interaction between China and New Zealand became formal in 1976, as a mechanism for curbing USSR influence. “This event was marked when Muldoon travelled to Peking in 1976 to meet Mao Zedong”. “It was plainly stated that China was eager for New Zealand to maintain its alliance with the USA”. Muldoon’s visit showed that China and New Zealand could relate well and find issues of common interest to them. Nonetheless, this did not necessarily imply that they did not have some divergent view.
For example, China still went on with its nuclear projects, and this drew sharp criticism from New Zealand. Another disagreement emerged out of the manner in which China responded during the attack of Cambodia by Vietnamese in 1978. In this case, China intervened by attacking Vietnam. This action was not supported by New Zealand, which saw it as similar to the conduct of Vietnam. New Zealand advised China to stop intervening in that conflict.
The political aspect of their cooperation was manifested by the several official visits which they both conducted on an equal measure. The tension was quickly alleviated due to the quick withdrawal of China.
Despite of these disagreements, China and New Zealand were both able to work together toward restoring development in Cambodia. “Since the implosion of the USSR, Russia is attempting to regain its former authority; the USA is playing the same Cold War game, and China is continuing the same course”.
The USA has been antagonistic to Russia, due to the fact that Russia is a powerful geopolitical bloc with the capacity to contain perpetration of USA hegemony. On the other hand, China is often perceived by western countries as a de facto partner, and they are keen on ensuring that it becomes de jure.
As such, the USA has been trying to influence countries that were in the Soviet Union to join NATO, and it also aims at forming nuclear programs in Poland. “The containing Cold War partnership with China makes the encirclement of Russia almost complete, the problematic factors being Central Asian Republics, and others such as the Ukraine, all targets of the Soros network”.
“China has been presented for several decades as being the panacea for New Zealand’s economic situation and it can ultimately be traced back to the scuttling of Empire after World War II”. Political relationship was first put in place as a primary step towards economic cooperation between them.
The economic gains that could arise from increased commercial integration did not lie far behind, particularly for the New Zealand. “Therefore, the lure for enormous Chinese markets was a seductive for new Zealand and other nations”. China’s market rapidly expanded during this period, and there was a significant increase in the amount and range of commodities traded in their markets. China derived most of its raw materials from New Zealand.
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It also exported most of its finished goods to New Zealand. However, this new trade agreement did not promote China much. Hence, it continuously complained that New Zealand did not do much to balance trade between them. Consequently, China was compelled to look for other markets in Europe and Asia.
Therefore, in terms of economic relationship, China and New Zealand developed trade and investment agreements, and up to 1990, China remained one of the principal trading partners of New Zealand. “New Zealand was the first Western country to commence bilateral negotiations with China on China’s WTO entry, also the first Western country to conclude such talks”.
On cultural issues, they practiced people-to-people associations. This was done by teachers, cultural groups, and students. China had managed to deploy enough experts even before it started cooperating with New Zealand. As such, experts from New Zealand just did the ‘polishing’ of Chinese treatise that were being translated to English and other languages. For instance, many teachers from New Zealand performed such tasks in Beijing.
Besides this, China also took advantage of skills and technology that were available in New Zealand. Exchange of skills became an aspect of the cultural exchange programs. Exchange of skills was also seen as underpinning commercial activities. With time, the exchange programs expanded immensely, and they now encompassed banking and legal processes.
In 1989, the long cooperation between China and New Zealand was affected by chaos that emerged in China at Tiananmen Square. Many students got involved in the street demonstrations and they caused a lot of property damage.
New Zealand and other western countries responded quickly, and they actually criticized the manner in which the Chinese troops handled the students who engaged in the mass demonstrations. The actions that were taken by both New Zealand and other European countries on China did not interfere with their trade links, but it strained their relationship. The occurrence at the Tiananmen Square actually exposed the tension between western countries and China.
The government of China had not actually employed new strategies for handling the chaos culprits. This was not the prime cause of New Zealand’s criticism of China. The problem that led to the criticism of China by New Zealand was the fact that the European countries wanted China to embrace Western political ideals.
This is because China had already adopted western economic models and they felt that it was expedient for China to do the same in politics. Tiananmen chaos was only used as an excuse for the criticism. In March 1990, China and New Zealand solved their differences and New Zealand also informed China about its concerns.
China and New Zealand have generally had a favorable long term relationship. Nonetheless, it characterized by some divergent views that have always emerged between them. New Zealand’s aim of gaining commercial opportunities has been often seen as one of the main reasons that motivated it to have a partnership with China.
Hence, interests waned when commercial gains from China reduced or proved challenging to get. “The conclusion from these years is that differences of perspectives, policy, and practice did not impede the establishment and management of a relationship from which both could benefit”.
Alley, R. 2007. New Zealand in World Affairs 1990-2005. New York: Victoria University Press.
Brown, B. 1970. New Zealand foreign policy in retrospect (1947-54 and the 1960s). New York: Institute of International Affairs.
New Zealand Institute. 2003. China and New Zealand: A Thriving Relationship Thirty Years on. London: Wiley.
Robinson, T. 1996. Chinese Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sutter, R. 2009. Chinese Foreign Relations: Power and Policy since the Cold War. London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.