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A belief that Western countries have to engage with China to solve global problems lies behind New Zealand's "out of step" position on senior government officials attending the Beijing Winter Olympics, Professor Robert Patman has told Global Insight.
While Five Eyes partners have said their diplomats will not attend the Games because of human rights concerns, New Zealand has given more than one reason why its government ministers will not attend.
These seemingly contradictory reasons are a "constructive ambiguity" that allows New Zealand to pursue an independent view of the world, Prof Patman says.
"New Zealand's position is that given the scale of the problems are so big we need to move towards multi-lateral solutions, which inevitably have to involve China."