New Zealand has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, foreign affairs minister Winston Peters said Tuesday.
The move is in response to China imposing a tough new national security law, which aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison.
“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China. If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision”, Peters said, adding that travel advice has been updated to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the new security law.
Peters stressed that New Zealand will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as it treats such exports to China.
The United Kingdom, Australia and Canada all suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong. US president Donald Trump has ended Hong Kong’s special status with the US and signed legislation that would sanction Chinese officials responsible for cracking down on political dissent in the city.
The Chinese embassy in New Zealand called the decision a violation of international law and gross interference in China’s internal affairs. China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday that Beijing reserves the right to make a further response.
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner. Ties between both countries have been strained after New Zealand backed Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization.