New Zealand PM Ardern says plans to return to China early

New Zealand PM Ardern says plans to return to China early

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she hoped to lead a trade mission to China once border settings are changed to allow travel to her country's biggest trading partner as it emerges from the Pandemic.

Ardern said she had expressed her hopes to visit China's President Xi Jinping during talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC summit in Bangkok last month, which had been their first in-person meeting since 2018.

I do hope to return to China when the settings allow, and I discussed with the President our ambition of taking a trade mission into China early next year - a plan that was welcomed by the President, Ardern told a meeting of the New Zealand-China Council in Auckland.

Ardern said New Zealand's trade and economic links with China have proven resilient despite the challenges of COVID-19. Her comments came two days after China announced it was dismantling key parts of a strict zero-COVID policy, in a move that was needed to give a boost to a flagging economy.

Ardern said New Zealand's relationship with China was important but complex and evolving, as it marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Ardern said we continue to recognize that there are areas where China and New Zealand don't agree, where our interests or world view differ.