China’s attempts to gain political power in Australia and New Zealand should be taken seriously, Hillary Clinton has warned.
Speaking to an audience in New Zealand on Monday night, the former US presidential candidate said international interference in domestic policy was not just a problem in the US.
“In Australia and here in New Zealand experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions,” she told the Auckland audience of about 3000.
“[Academic] Anne-Marie Brady of the University of Canterbury has rightly called this a new global battle, and it’s just getting started. We need to take it seriously.”
In her wide-ranging talk, Ms Clinton also discussed Chinese president Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, as well as the US election, and more personal matters.
Earlier in the day, she met New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, gifting her a Buzzy Bee toy and discussing how to combine politics and motherhood.
Ms Ardern on Tuesday told reporters Ms Clinton’s statements about China were not new.
“There are a number of world powers that have an interest in our region and, of course, New Zealand needs to maintain our role in building our relationships because there is that greater presence here,” she said.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, is on Tuesday due to outline the government’s budget plans for foreign affairs – with some tipping greater spending on the Pacific – following his announcement of an increased focus on the region earlier this year.
Ms Clinton will speak in Melbourne on Thursday and Sydney on Friday.