28 Jun 2023

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

6:08 am on 28 June 2023
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins meets Chinese President Xi Jinping, 27 June 2023.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins meets Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has held his highly anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders met Tuesday evening in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Speaking through a translator at the start of the face-to-face, Xi praised the bilateral relationship between China and New Zealand.

"Our bilateral ties have continued to grow in a sound and steady manner. Amid the changing international landscape, our relationship has remained robust and strong.

"It has brought tangible benefits to the people of our two countries and contributed to regional peace, stability and prosperity. China always views New Zealand as a friend and a partner."

Xi said he treats China's relations with New Zealand with "great importance".

Hipkins thanked Xi for meeting with him and said the sit-down "builds on the foundations laid before me".

There had been a number of significant developments since the last meeting between Xi and former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern, Hipkins said.

"Our borders are now open in both directions, flights are resuming group tours are arriving, students are returning and business people are able to engage with each other in person.

"Again, we expect trade education and tourism connections will continue to increase as air connectivity between our two countries continues to improve."

Both leaders reflected on the 50 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China.

Hipkins said it was a "very significant bilateral milestone."

"The bilateral relationship is multifaceted, encompassing significant economic, people to people and cultural connections, renewing and refreshing those connections is a really important focus for my visit."