Accessibility links

New Zealand PM Meets Chinese Leaders in Beijing


New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has met with Chinese leaders in Beijing to discuss expanding trade and economic ties in the face of the global economic crisis.

Mr. Key met Wednesday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the Chinese capital.

The New Zealand prime minister told U.S. news broadcaster CNN that some repair in bilateral relations was necessary after last year's tainted milk scandal.

Sanlu Group -- the Chinese partner of the New Zealand firm Fonterra -- last year discovered its dairy products were contaminated with the chemical melamine. Sanlu became the center of a scandal after six infants died and around 300,000 people were sickened by tainted milk products.

Mr. Key expressed regret during the CNN interview for the deaths, but said the two countries' relationship has moved on. Mr. Key's predecessor, Helen Clark, was in office when the scandal broke.

The prime minister said Fonterra has recently opened a new operation in China that Fonterra will directly monitor quality.

Mr. Key also said the two countries have already seen benefits from a free trade deal signed last year. China's official Xinhua news agency said expanding trade was the focus of the New Zealand leader's talks Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr. Key said he also planned to discuss the political crisis in Fiji during the meeting. He expressed concern that Chinese aid could undermine international pressure on Fiji to restore democracy.

Xinhua said Mr. Key and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday discussed expanding cooperation on trade, agriculture, climate change and natural resource.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, plans to visit New Zealand later this year and may meet with New Zealand's prime minister. Beijing is likely to protest any such meeting, but Mr. Key said there has been no pressure from China to cancel a proposed visit to New Zealand by Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

XS
SM
MD
LG