HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsNew Zealand Prime Minister plans first China visit

New Zealand Prime Minister plans first China visit


Beijing, 19 March 2024 (TDI): In a significant diplomatic move, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, announced plans to visit China in the coming months following high-level meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Wellington this week.

Luxon was accompanied by Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Trade Minister Todd McClay. They engaged in discussions with Wang, marking the first visit by a senior Chinese official to New Zealand since 2017.

Peters described the meetings as “very convivial, very friendly,”. He revealed that McClay is scheduled to visit China next month, with Luxon’s visit expected shortly thereafter.

Winston, the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, expressed his thoughts on how China plays a constructive role in addressing regional and global security challenges.

Peters emphasized China’s potential to contribute positively. China can deal with conflicts such as those between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Hamas by assisting in deescalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula

While Luxon’s trip is pending confirmation, it would mark his inaugural visit to China since assuming office last October. This would be followed by Chris Hipkins’ visit as Prime Minister in mid-2023.

Despite maintaining a cordial relationship with China, New Zealand has recently become more vocal about its concerns regarding China’s actions. These fall particularly under its security agreement with the Solomon Islands, which undermines regional defense cooperation agreements.

Peters emphasized the importance of upholding Pacific agreements during his discussions with Wang. Amidst discussions, Wang raised concerns about New Zealand’s potential involvement in the AUKUS security pact.

Peters reiterated New Zealand’s sovereign right to determine its defense interests, emphasizing the importance of transparent dialogue.

The AUKUS alliance, formed by the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, aims to counterbalance China’s influence in the Pacific, prompting concerns from Beijing about security cooperation between New Zealand and Western allies.

Despite these discussions, New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy limits its involvement in certain aspects of the pact, focusing instead on cyber warfare and advanced technology development.

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