New Zealand 'uncomfortable' with expanding intelligence alliance when it comes to China: report

New Zealand 'uncomfortable' with expanding intelligence alliance when it comes to China: report
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New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Monday that her country feels uncomfortable expanding intelligence with the the United States and other nations when it comes to China, Bloomberg reported.

“We have raised with Five Eyes partners that we are uncomfortable with expanding the remit of the Five Eyes relationship,” Mahuta told reporters Monday in Wellington. “We would much rather prefer looking for multilateral opportunities to express our interests on a number of issues.”

The Five Eyes alliances dates back to World War II and includes the U.S., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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The new statement underscores how tensions surrounding China can divide the United States from some of its allies.

New Zealand didn’t join the other Five Eyes members in a joint statement following mass arrests in Hong Kong in January, according to Bloomberg. 

“New Zealand has been very clear not to invoke the Five Eyes as the first point of contact on messaging out on a range of issues that really exist outside of the remit of the Five Eyes,” Mahuta said in the Bloomberg report.

“We have not favored that type of approach and have expressed that to Five Eyes partners. What we would prefer is looking for other supports in the region that may or may not be those countries.”