New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday played up her country's "critically important" ties with China, while President Xi Jinping called for "mutual trust" amid tensions stemming from security concerns over Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Ardern thanked Xi for extending condolences over the deadly shooting incident, and expressed condolences for the loss of life in a chemical plant blast in Jiangsu Province in late March.
China is willing to add more dimensions to the Sino-New Zealand comprehensive cooperative partnership in accordance with pragmatic cooperation in the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results. "I do appreciate that", Xi said.
The coalition government has also broken with the previous administration's practice of taking no position on China's expansionism in the South China Sea.
Ardern has acknowledged there were complexities in the relationship with China, but has dismissed concerns of a rift with New Zealand's largest trading partner.
Her visit, he said, proved that "special commitment", and he expressed his "deep sympathy".
"At present, China-New Zealand ties overall are developing in a stable manner", Li told Ardern at the start of their meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the people, noting New Zealand's desire for good relations.
Talking to reporters before meeting Li, Ardern said she would set out the process New Zealand followed in the Huawei decision, and point out that there had been no political or diplomatic influence in the matter.
"Here (in China), we have one of the most significant footprints that we have globally".
"That did not change the values that we hold as a nation. we are a country of multiple ethnicities, multiple religions and faiths, different creeds. Our relationship is too long, too great in history and has a layer of depth to it that I don't think it should be defined by those differences and I don't believe it will be". Li called on New Zealand to provide a "fair investment environment", a line no doubt created to convey Beijing's frustration over the Huawei debacle.
Finny hopes that Ardern will raise matters around human rights and global security during her meetings, and says it would be surprising if she did not.
She said the language had been around "hasten the work, speeding those negotiation".
A fundraising campaign has raised almost $9.4 million for the victims of last month's terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, a charity group announced Monday.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi was at the Xi bilateral as well.
The massacre of 50 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch happened only two weeks ago. A longer trip had been planned, was but shortened to just a day following the attack.
Jacinda Ardern (L) and Li Keqiang (R) walk after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China on Monday.
"We hope that we can aspire to the greatest common denominator regarding each others' interests and that when each side's businesses invest in each other's businesses, they can enjoy a fair, transparent, convenient environment", he said.
She will also meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
"Ensuring their daily needs are met, such as food and ensuring that accommodation, rent, mortgages are paid and that loved ones can actually travel to New Zealand or there have been occasions where we've had to support people who wanted to repatriate their loved ones", Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso told Radio NZ, a New Zealand public-service radio broadcaster.
She broke with tradition while on Government business and talked up the role of the Labour Party in having advanced relations with China.
She cited former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk in recognising China in 1972 and former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark is signing a free trade agreement in 2008. Obviously we have Huawei products in New Zealand.