New Zealand legislator urges no free trade with China

March 16th, 2008 - 5:16 am ICT by admin  

Wellington, March 16 (DPA) A New Zealand Green Party legislator urged the government Sunday to abandon plans to sign a free trade pact with China next month because of its action in Tibet. Keith Locke said it would mean signing the deal over the dead bodies of Tibetan monks, the NewstalkZB radio network reported.

Locke, whose party supports the Labour-led government while staying out of a formal coalition, urged Prime Minister Helen Clark to speak out as the situation in Tibet, where 10 people have reportedly been killed, deteriorates.

Clark is scheduled to go to Beijing next month to sign what would be China’s first free trade agreement with a developed country. It is seen as a forerunner of similar Chinese pacts with other countries.

Locke said New Zealand should make its opposition to oppression clear before signing the agreement and stand up for the people of Tibet.

The New Zealand government advised its citizens Saturday to avoid all non-essential travel to Tibet, saying there was a high risk to security in the capital Lhasa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealanders already in Lhasa should stay indoors, avoid areas where protests are taking place and leave the city when it was safe to do so.

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