Sunday, April 5, 2020 01:06:20 AM
AFP, Beijing :
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday 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.
The two leaders made the remarks as they met at Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Ardern's first trip abroad since the Christchurch mosque attacks.
"Your visit to China fully reflects the importance that you and the New Zealand government attach to China-New Zealand relations," said Xi, calling the island nation a "sincere friend and partner".
The trip is also Ardern's first trip to China since she was elected in late 2017 -- an unusually long wait for the leader of a nation that signed a pioneering free-trade deal with Beijing in 2008.
Relations between Beijing and Wellington have been strained in recent months after New Zealand's intelligence agency last November halted plans for Chinese-owned telecom giant Huawei to participate in a proposed 5G network, citing "significant security risks".
But Ardern said Monday her visit to Beijing aims to further her country's "critically important relationship" with China-New Zealand's largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling NZ$27 billion ($18.4 billion) in 2018. Ardern had repeatedly played down the spat with Huawei.
Last month she said New Zealand was in talks to minimise the security risks posed by using the Chinese telecom giant's equipment in 5G infrastructure, raising the prospect of a compromise on the issue.
In his opening remarks to Ardern, Xi urged both countries to "adhere to mutual trust (and) the principle of mutual benefit" as bilateral relations between the countries face a "new trend".
·The New Zealand prime minister also held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before her meeting with Xi. The two discussed ways for New Zealand to participate in Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, a global trade infrastructure programme that includes Pacific island nations that traditionally fell under the spheres of influence of Canberra and Wellington.
Li urged both sides to aspire for the "greatest common denominator" and that "when each side's businesses invest in each other's businesses, they can enjoy a fair, transparent, convenient environment".
Ardern called for upgrading New Zealand's free trade agreement with China and said the country "welcomed high-quality foreign investment", her office said in a statement after the meeting.
Her short visit to China comes in the wake of a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch last month that left 50 people dead and prompted her to overhaul New Zealand's gun laws.
A longer trip had been planned, was but shortened to just a day following the attack.
Both Xi and Li expressed condolences for those killed in the shooting.
"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.
"China also places a high importance on relations with New Zealand," he said.
"And we hope that we can aspire to the greatest common denominator regarding each others' interests and that when each sides businesses invest in each other's businesses, they can enjoy a fair, transparent, convenient environment."
AFP, Rio De Janeiro :Neymar has donated $1 million to fight the impact of the new coronavirus in his native Brazil, according to TV network SBT.The Paris Saint-Germain star, the world's third-highest-paid footballer, donated part of the money to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the rest to a ...
AT least a dozen people with different illnesses died in Dhaka and other places after they were refused treatment by doctors since March 8 when the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country. Many said a sense of insecurity caused by the persisting shortage of personal protective equipment ...
AFP, Paris :Olympic chiefs said Thursday they were bracing themselves for the extra costs incurred by rescheduling the Tokyo Games by a year to 2021.The historic decision to postpone the summer Olympics by 12 months was taken this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was the first peacetime postponement ...
AFP, Montevideo:Uruguay star Luis Suarez complained on Thursday that he has been "hurt" by criticism of him and fellow millionaire Barcelona players for the time it took to agree to pay cuts to help out other club employees.Argentine superstar Lionel Messi announced on Monday that Barca's players had agreed to ...
WHEN the poor people need cash and food support under the shutdown some wealthy people are misusing the occasion to demonstrate their charity otherwise. Some public leaders are using the plight of the poor to make their own fortune. They are giving less of the government given rice to the ...
The Women's European Championships - set to be held in England in 2021 - will be moved to the summer of 2022.The tournament was expected to be shifted after the men's European Championship and the Tokyo Olympics were both postponed until 2021 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.Three European teams ...
The public response in donating to charity to help feed deprived children after an appeal by Marcus Rashford has impressed the Manchester United forward.The 22-year-old England international teamed up with FareShare, a food distribution charity, after schools in the Manchester area were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.Donations as of ...
Women players suing US Soccer say in court documents filed Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged the jobs of men and women footballers require equal skill.The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by federation lawyers earlier in March provoked widespread ...
BBC Online :Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died aged 68 after contracting coronavirus, the club have announced.The Senegalese was president between 2005 and 2009 when Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 twice and reached two French Cup finals.They went on to win a first French league title in 18 ...