PM Jacinda Ardern meets China’s President Xi Jinping: ‘China sees NZ as important partner and friend’


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in 2019. Photo / supplied

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has wound up a face to face meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in which Xi said China saw New Zealand as an “important partner and friend.”

In his translated opening comments, President Xi also said he thanked Ardern for her statements that New Zealand had an independent foreign policy, and said the China-NZ relationship had delivered benefits to both countries.

“You have said on multiple occasions that New Zealand is committed to an independent foreign policy and that China – New Zealand relations are one of the most important pairs of bilateral relationships involving New Zealand. And that the two sides need to conduct cooperation in areas of converging interests. I highly appreciate that.”

He noted it was the 50th year of China-New Zealand relations, and was one of “sound and steady growth.” “Cooperation has delivered benefits to our two people.”

He said that strong relationship also aided peace and stability, and the partnership should be taken to a higher level.”

In response, Ardern said while the two countries had different world views and political systems: “we will continue to address where we have those differences in a consistent and predictable way.”

She said both countries benefited from a stable and secure region, and international law and norms had served the region well. “But they are being tested now.”

Media were then moved out of the room by the China delegation before she could finish.

Prior to that, Ardern said she remembered fondly her visit to China in 2019. “This is a significant time for us to be meeting as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.”

She said the two countries cooperated in trade, agriculture and climate change “and I’m looking forward to today discussing some areas we can deepen some of that cooperation.”

Security and the Covid-19 protocols around the meeting were tight. All those present had to have PCR tests ahead of it, N95 masks were required, and hand sanitiser sprayed on everybody entering the hotel.

It was Ardern’s first meeting in person with Xi since early 2019 when she travelled to Beijing – that was her first, and as yet only, visit to China since becoming PM in 2017.

The pair met soon after Xi had given a statement at the Apec summit, saying the Asia-Pacific region should not become “an arena for big power contest,”

“Unilateralism and protectionism should be rejected by all; any attempt to politicize and weaponize economic and trade relations should also be rejected by all,” Xi said.

PM Jacinda Ardern at a meeting on North Korea with leaders Australia PM Anthony Albanese (l), Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Japan PM Fumio Kishida, US Vice President Kamala Harris, South Korea PM Han Duck-soo. Photo / Thomas Manch, pool
PM Jacinda Ardern at a meeting on North Korea with leaders Australia PM Anthony Albanese (l), Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Japan PM Fumio Kishida, US Vice President Kamala Harris, South Korea PM Han Duck-soo. Photo / Thomas Manch, pool

“No attempt to wage a new cold war will ever be allowed by the people or by our times.”

The pair also met soon after Ardern was called in for an emergency meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris and other leaders from Australia, Japan, Korea, and Canada to discuss the evolving situation in North Korea, after it fired a ballistic missile into Japan waters, about 200km from its coast.

In her remarks, Ardern said she condemned the actions – and expressed her concerns about the escalation by North Korea in launching missiles – and her commitment of the night before to South Korea’s Prime Minister that New Zealand would uphold sanctions on North Korea.

““I do want to particularly acknowledge the anxiety, the deep concern, the security threat, this escalation, this increasing use of missiles poses to Japan and South Korea.”

Harris said she had called the meeting so that the regional leaders could discuss “next steps.”



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