New Zealand PM meets controversial WEF boss Klaus Schwab ahead of 'crucial' meeting with China's President Xi

NZ Prime Minister Chris Hipkins prepares for 'important meeting' with China's President Xi Jinping after sitting down with World Economic Forum leader Klaus Schwab.

New Zealand PM meets controversial WEF boss Klaus Schwab ahead of 'crucial' meeting with China's President Xi
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Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is gearing up for a meeting that could shape the future of New Zealand's diplomatic ties when he sits down with China's President Xi Jinping.

As preparations intensify, controversy arises over an alleged heated exchange between Australia and China earlier this year, which the New Zealand government dismisses as a mere scheduling conflict.

The NZ Prime Minister participated in the World Economic Forum's summer Davos gathering, known as the annual meeting of the 'New Champions'.

It was during this event that Hipkins engaged in discussions with the forum's founder, Professor Klaus Schwab, while also joining a panel to address the state of the world.

Expressing New Zealand's stance, Hipkins emphasised the importance of an open and 'outward-looking world', countering the prevailing trend of increasing inward focus in some regions despite his nation struggling with a brutal cost of living crisis and shocking crime epidemic.

Additionally, he seized the opportunity to hold a sideline meeting with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, further solidifying diplomatic ties.

However, all eyes remain fixed on the impending highlight of Hipkins' visit - his meeting with President Xi Jinping.

This 'critical engagement' occurs amidst the New Zealand government's attempt to downplay Australian media reports regarding a tense exchange between their Foreign Affairs Minister and her Chinese counterpart. Though the encounter was described as an hour-long harangue, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, attributes it to China's 'assertiveness in conveying its interests'.

Opposition spokesperson Gerry Brownlee suggests that the situation may have been 'misinterpreted' and likely involved a vigorous exchange from both parties.

Anticipation builds regarding the nature of Hipkins' discussion with President Xi, with some speculating whether he will face a dressing-down of his own.

Mahuta expects a robust conversation but underscores the importance of expressing New Zealand's interests, without shying away from necessary discussions.

Key topics on the table are said to include the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing disputes over the South China Sea. However, the primary goal remains securing a meeting between President Xi and New Zealand's Prime Minister.

In light of these significant developments, Mahuta rescheduled a planned meeting with Australia, a close partner, to ensure an uninterrupted and comprehensive conversation.

Although she refrains from explicitly acknowledging Beijing's influence, Mahuta emphasises the need for 'proper sequencing and thorough dialogue'.

The decision is aimed at eliminating any potential risks and providing Hipkins a smooth pathway for his meeting with President Xi.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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