New Zealand foreign minister confirms 'very robust' meeting with Beijing By Alasdair Pal June 27, 20236:27 AM GMT+3Updated 11 hours ago New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 05 April 2023. OLIVIER MATTHYS/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo SYDNEY, June 27 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said on Tuesday she had a "very robust" discussion during an earlier meeting with her Chinese counterpart, as the leaders of the two countries prepare to meet. A report by the Australian newspaper said Mahuta received an "epic haranguing" and an "almighty dressing down" during a March meeting with China's foreign minister Qin Gang, in a potential sign of tensions in the relationship between New Zealand and its largest trading partner. Advertisement · Scroll to continue "I would say that China is very assertive in the way that it conveys its interests," Mahuta told reporters on Tuesday, characterising the March meeting as "very robust". "The fact that we were able to achieve an invitation for our prime minister to visit China reflects the nature of the relationship, how mature it is, the fact that we can have robust discussions and still be able to take a trade delegation over there." Mahuta did not elaborate further on the topics discussed in the meeting. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is currently leading a delegation to Beijing that arrived on Monday and includes some of New Zealand's biggest companies. He is expected to meet President Xi Jinping later on Tuesday, as well as Premier Li Qiang and the chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, Zhao Leji, before he returns home on Friday. Advertisement · Scroll to continue China is New Zealand's largest export market by far, most notably for its dairy industry, and Mahuta has previously taken a more cautious approach towards condemning China's human rights record, in contrast to neighbour Australia.
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