Chinese Response On Apple Cuttings Incident

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

"Following expressions of grave concern from the New Zealand Government, the Chinese Government has investigated the incident in which apple budstock samples were retrieved from a Chinese delegation at Auckland Airport," Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Upton said today. "I have received a report on the investigation through our Embassy in Beijing. The Embassy has also discussed aspects of the investigation with the Chinese Ministry concerned."

"The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), which manages the Chinese side of development cooperation projects, conducted a detailed investigation during which delegation members were taken to Beijing to give their account of events", Mr Upton
said. "MOFTEC accepts that the delegation's behaviour was unacceptable. The incident has been widely publicised within the Chinese system and the offender named and reprimanded. It is possible that further measures will follow a study of the future management of the project by the Provincial authorities within whose jurisdiction the project is located."

Mr Upton said that the lessons of this incident are to be applied widely in other development assistance projects. "This was a delegation from a poor rural area with little experience of foreign travel or of the laws and procedures of other countries. MOFTEC has issued instructions to all coordinators of development assistance projects and all Ministries involved in such projects to ensure that all travelling delegations are
appropriately briefed in future."

"MOFTEC has expressed regrets on behalf of the Chinese Government and the people of Wulian, where the project is located. I am satisfied that our concerns have been addressed, and consider the matter closed."