It is becoming harder and harder to ignore China’s aggressive behaviour. As I say in the magazine this week, China wants to pick off its opponents. Only a unified western response can stop this, but all too often that has been lacking.
When Beijing turned on Australia for suggesting that there should be an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, there was a shocking lack of solidarity from New Zealand. Wellington’s trade minister, while negotiating an upgrade to its trade deal with China, suggested Australia should ‘show respect’ to China. New Zealand now exports almost half its meat and wool to China. Revealingly, it also dropped out of a statement by the Five Eyes — the intelligence grouping that joins together the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — that was particularly critical of China’s behaviour in Hong Kong.