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New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong

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New Zealand suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong, falling into step with its western allies after China passed a national security law for the financial hub.

“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,” Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement Tuesday in Wellington. “New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China.”

The move is likely to strain relations with China, New Zealand’s largest trading partner. However, New Zealand is following the lead of allies such as Canada, Australia and the U.K., who have already suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong for the same reason. The nations are all part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance with the U.S., which is embroiled in a worsening diplomatic row with China.

China’s national security law for Hong Kong, an attempt to quell dissent in the former British colony, has drawn condemnation from around the world.

Peters said New Zealand’s review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong is ongoing, but announced two further outcomes of it.

Firstly, New Zealand will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way it treats those exports to China. Secondly, it has updated travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the national security law.

“New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation, and we will continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong as the law is applied,” Peters said. “If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision.”

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