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Jacinda Ardern raises concerns with Xi Jinping over Taiwan and urges ‘influence’ over North Korea tensions

File: China’s President Xi Jinping arrives to attend the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC summit, Saturday, 19 November 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand (AP)

new Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern urged China‘s Xi Jinping to use his “influence” over North Korea and raised concerns over tensions in Taiwan strait on the sidelines of the Apec summit in Bangkok on Saturday.

Ms Ardern “recorded New Zealand’s concerns regarding Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and, in more recent times, the Taiwan strait”, an official statement from the government said.

She also “encouraged China to use its influence and access to help address regional and international security challenges such as the DPRK and Ukraine”.

The “constructive” meeting between the two leaders, which went on for 50 minutes — took place just hours after North Korea fired its intercontinental ballistic missile in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, 200km off its coastline.

Ms Ardern told the Chinese leader that it is “a nation of influence.” And in a situation where we are asking for everyone to use every lever they can to bring peace and stability to end the conflict, we will call on all those we believe have influence to use it for the peace and stability we need”.

The New Zealand leader said that the two devoted much of their discussion to regional security issues, saying North Korea’s recent missile launch was “a step up in escalation”.

“We’re obviously at an inflection point in the region. It’s in no one’s interest for us to see a loss of peace and stability in the region, and I’d say that’s a shared view. That is where there is consensus.” she added.

China also issued a statement in which it said that “President Xi stressed that with different social systems, stages of development, histories and cultures, it is natural for China and New Zealand to have differences on some issues, but these differences should not be allowed to define or affect the bilateral relations.

“As comprehensive strategic partners, China and New Zealand should enhance communication and mutual trust, and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns to ensure that this relationship is sustainable and grows along the right path.”

Meanwhile, at the Apec summit, the leaders endorsed a statement condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine, vowed to push pandemic recovery and prepare for future crises.

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