December 01, 2022
NZ-Ukraine stand gets frosty response
Defence Minister Peeni Henare says his visits to war-torn Ukraine and an ASEAN defence officials meeting in Cambodia have given him a new respect for international diplomacy.
He says the Cambodia meeting which included the Association of South East Asian Nations as well as the United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin, was at times “tense”.
When he voiced New Zealand’s solidarity with Ukraine, he was met with stony silence from Russia and China.
“It was confronting in many parts. And you can imagine when you raise matters like that – and the people that you are talking about are in the room – we’ve all been throught this, perhaps on the marae, where it is important that you raise these matters in front of these people – it can also make for a rather tense meeting,” Mr Henare says.
Mr Henare says in Ukraine he was overwhelmed by a photo wall remembering thousands of slain Ukrainians.
Other issues discussed by ASEAN ministers included China’s inteference in the South China Sea, the ongoing violence in Myanmar, and climate change.