By Lucy Craymer
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The Chinese embassy in capital city Wellington and local New Zealand authorities on Friday confirmed they are in talks about moving a sewage pipe running beneath a new building site.
China was given consent to build a new embassy in 2018 but the site has remained undeveloped. The sewage pipe is 800 mm (31.5 inches) in diameter and runs across the proposed site.
A spokesperson for the embassy said China has been working with the Wellington City Council on what to do about the pipe “to create the necessary conditions for the construction of the embassy to proceed”.
A city council spokesman said lots of buildings have pipes under them so it shouldn’t be an undue problem.
“However, we understand why the embassy may consider the pipes pose a security risk,” the spokesman said, without listing any specific risks.
The embassy spokesperson noted concerns about “the future maintenance and possible repair” of the pipe.
The city council spokesman said the embassy would have to pay any costs for relocating the pipe.
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Tom Hogue)