New Zealand foreign minister confirms ‘very robust’ meeting with Beijing

new-zealand-foreign-minister-confirms-‘very-robust’-meeting-with-beijing
New Zealand foreign minister confirms ‘very robust’ meeting with Beijing

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has confirmed that she had a “very robust” discussion with her Chinese counterpart during a meeting in March. The Australian newspaper reported that Mahuta received an “epic haranguing” and an “almighty dressing down” during the meeting with China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang. Mahuta characterised the meeting as “very robust” and acknowledged that China is assertive in the way it conveys its interests.

Despite the tense meeting, Mahuta emphasised that the invitation for New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, to visit China reflects the mature nature of the relationship between the two countries. Mahuta did not provide any further details on the topics discussed during the meeting.

Currently, Prime Minister Hipkins is leading a delegation to Beijing that includes some of New Zealand’s biggest companies. He is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, and the chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhao Leji, before returning home on Friday.

China is New Zealand’s largest export market, particularly for its dairy industry. Mahuta has previously taken a more cautious approach towards condemning China’s human rights record, in contrast to neighbouring Australia.

The article was reported by Alasdair Pal in Sydney and edited by Michael Perry. The Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles apply.

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