China's foreign ministry on Wednesday slammed a joint statement by the leaders of the United States and New Zealand that expressed "grave concerns" on human rights violations in Xinjiang and the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong.
Their joint statement smears China and gravely interferes in China's internal affairs, said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry.
In their statement, U.S. President Joe Biden and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also said they would encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are China's internal affairs, Zhao said at a regular news conference.
It comes after the leaders voiced their concerns about China's involvement in the Pacific in a joint statement.
"We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues,” the leaders said in the statement.
The statement was released following Ardern's meeting with Biden in the Oval Office where the pair discussed the Pacific, gun control and working with tech companies about extremism.
Before the meeting went behind closed doors, Ardern was asked if the US would be more present in the Pacific, she said they would be there on the Pacific's terms.
"I think you'll see the United States themselves have been very proactive speaking about their intentions to be in the Pacific on the Pacific's terms," she said.
"That means hearing that strategic focus many Pacific Island leaders have, where they see their challenges, where they wish to partner and that has shone through in the way the United States has been talking about partnering in the Pacific and I saw that again reflected today."
Ardern said given the contested nature of the Pacific, China was discussed in the meeting where the pair "reflected on the environment we are in".
The Prime Minister said they had a "good conversation" about Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and denied giving up on trying to get the US to join the CPTPP, but says there are domestic realities the US have to deal with.
Reuters / Newshub