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Key in China heeds NKorea threats

Sunday 07 Apr 2013 6:00p.m.

Key in China heeds NKorea threats

The Prime Minister has warned New Zealand could end up at war with North Korea. John Key says New Zealand would likely join the United States and Australia in defending South Korea if war breaks out.

Mr Key is in China, where he is about to meet new Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Boao Economic Forum.

Mr Jinping controls China's wealth, its power and its ever-increasing global influence, which right now world leaders want China to wield close to home, against neighbour North Korea.

"The actions of North Korea are not helpful," says Mr Key. "They are overly provocative. They are destabilising the region and if something went wrong that could be disastrous for all us. So we all have skin in the game here."

Mr Key says North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong Un, has changed the game and the threats from North to South Korea are at an all new level.

"We don't know how he might react under pressure. And sometimes these things can get out of hand quite rapidly."

If war breaks out, the United States and Australia would likely join to defend the South. Mr Key implied we would side with our old allies and New Zealand would be at war with North Korea.

"I wouldn't want to speculate, but obviously we have got a long and proud history of coming to the support of South Korea. Taken to the extreme, and without interventions and resolutions to the issues, that is of course possible."

But Mr Key says international diplomacy comes first. So when Mr Key meets Mr Jinping tonight, he will ask China to bring calm.

A who's who are there. Mr Key will also meet with Bill Gates.

But everybody wants face time with the new president. And Mr Key's message to Mr Jinping will be "yes we want your money, but please don't buy our farms. Set up milk processing factories instead."

"The simple message is more investment, in the right places," says Mr Key.

But China is now where other countries come to do the asking. It's china that does the telling.

China is our new best friend. But all new friends come with new problems. China's is cyber-hacking. Industrial espionage and hacking, China is getting the blame worldwide.

Mr Key says he can't say whether New Zealand has ever had a cyber attack from China.

"I can't answer that I don't think that would be the right thing to do because we don't identify those as a general rule."

Mr Key wouldn't identify China, but he did reveal New Zealand and Kiwi companies have been subject to attacks.

"We can and do see cyber attacks on public and private entities in New Zealand. We are constantly upgrading our ability of defending against those."

The United States has been much more open. It's blaming China for attacks. But Mr Key wasn't even sure if he would raise it with Mr Jinping. Spying is becoming an issue wherever the Prime Minister goes.

3 News

 
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01-08-2014 12:00