The leaders focused on cooperation at the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders Meeting and the role that APEC can play in tackling the long term challenge of sustainable and inclusive economic growth and recovery from COVID-19.
The two discussed areas of mutual interest such as the strong trade and economic relationship between New Zealand and China, and both noted that they looked forward to the ratification of the New Zealand-China FTA Upgrade, welcomed the imminent entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and acknowledged the significance of China’s requests to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).
The leaders discussed cooperation on environmental and education initiatives. They noted that there had been useful discussions at the recent New Zealand-China Ministerial dialogue on climate change, ahead of COP26. Prime Minister Ardern welcomed China’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and emphasised that Chinese leadership and ambition on climate change will be critical to making COP26 a success.
Prime Minister Ardern underlined that New Zealand has an independent and values-based foreign policy. The two countries’ distinct history and systems meant that they would have differing viewpoints on issues, but New Zealand would address these in a consistent and predictable way. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to reiterate New Zealand’s concerns over developments in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. She also spoke of the priority New Zealand places on climate resilience in the Pacific, in line with Pacific priorities, development and COVID recovery, and with a high degree of Pacific ownership.
Both Prime Minister Ardern and President Xi looked forward to the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China next year. Both also looked forward to a time when COVID-19 no longer disrupts movement across borders and reconnection is possible.