TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, issued a joint statement on Friday (July 1) stating their support for a free and open South China Sea, with an emphasis on stability across the Taiwan Strait also written into the text.
The two leaders met and discussed how the two countries could approach shared global challenges during Ardern's visit to Europe.
A joint statement was later released by the Prime Minister's Office following the meeting, which underscored the two countries' historical ties, close relationship based on shared values, and New Zealand's welcome of the U.K.'s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The statement also touched on international problems such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, regarding which the two leaders "reiterated their unequivocal condemnation."
As for the Indo-Pacific region, they both reaffirmed their support for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and beyond under international law. The importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is also written into the texts, along with an emphasis on peaceful resolution through dialogue.
The joint statement coincides with the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China, for which the U.K. and New Zealand both expressed their "grave concerns regarding the erosion of rights and freedoms" in the city state.