What to expect from PM's China visit

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Sunday, 31 March 2019, 4:40PM
Jacinda Ardern will be on the ground for less than 24 hours, and will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (Photo / ASEAN)

Jacinda Ardern makes her first visit to Beijing tomorrow as Prime Minister, but with such a brief visit, what will be achieved?

Political editor Barry Soper is on the ground, and he told the Weekend Collective that the first call of port will be the official opening of the New Zealand embassy, the biggest in the city.

After lunch with Premier Li Keqiang, Ardern will have meetings with President Xi Jinping.

Soper says that China remains extremely important to New Zealand, and this meeting has been a long time coming. It has been delayed, with a variety of issues to blame. 

"I think they were simply giving us a bit of the cold shoulder, and now they are saying that we need to be talking to them again."

He says that the fact we are a country in the West means we remain valuable to the country, despite the clash of Huawei being blocked from Spark's 5G rollout.

Soper does not believe that debate is in the past, and that Huawei still expects to be involved. 

Comments made by Winston Peters and Ron Mark on militarisation in the Pacific is another issue that caused concern with China. 

Soper says that the Chinese are all about saving face, and New Zealand needs to be careful.

"We're important to them, but we have to be diplomatically aware of how these people operate." 



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