The Australian reports:
Australia has banded together with three of its Five Eyes security partners to demand China respect the freedoms of Hong Kongers, in a joint statement attempting to ensure Beijing can’t single out the Morrison government for punishment.
Government sources confirmed the show of diplomatic force, made days after the arrests of 55 politicians and activists in Hong Kong, was designed to make clear that China’s aggressive actions there following the passage of a new security law were a global concern. There would be more joint statements in the months ahead when people’s freedoms and rights were under threat.
Analysts said it would enforce the message that Australia was not acting alone. Foreign ministers Marise Payne, Francois-Philippe Champagne (Canada), Dominic Raab (UK) and US secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed their “serious concern” at the mass arrests in Hong Kong for subversion under the national security law.
Sad that NZ Govt decided not to support Australia in standing up for Hong Kong.
There have been several joint statements issued by Five Eyes countries concerning Hong Kong in recent months but in this latest rebuke New Zealand remained mute. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said the country had “serious concerns” about the situation in Hong Kong. While it would make joint comments with allies, on this occasion Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta responded independently last week.
The Australian understands there was a delay in issuing the joint statement following 72 hours of diplomatic exchanges between all five partners resulting in just the quadrilateral statement.
NZ deliberately decided to stay mute. This will embolden China as they will see that fear of retribution works.