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Ardern says Huawei decision not a political one, ahead of meeting with China's president

The Prime Minister expects her meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping will entail explaining the process behind New Zealand's spy agency denying Huawei setting up a 5G network here.

Speaking to media in Beijing today Jacinda Ardern, who had just opened New Zealand's new Embassy in the city, emphasised the Government's lack of direct involvement in the decision. 

The Chinese company Huawei's bid to assist in developing New Zealand's 5G network was denied by the GCSB in November last year.

Ms Ardern said she would "set out the process" when meeting with China's leadership today, and show the GCSB sits separate from Government.

"There's good reason why this process exists, is to ensure we protect New Zealand's national security," Ms Ardern said.

"This is our independent process.... regardless of what any member of the Five Eyes, or anyone else might undertake," she said, after being questioned about the influence and pressure from Five Eyes countries. 

United States' top Asia Pacific official, Patrick Murphy told TVNZ1's Q+A of his country's "concerns" about national security regarding Huawei. 

"We will do what's necessary to protect our own national interests," he said. 

Ms Ardern today said the process was not a political decision, but instead "a process that is undertaken by the GCSB".

She did not want to "pre-empt" discussion topics with President Xi Jinping, but anticipated the Free Trade Agreement upgrade would be looked at. 

"We of course raise issues around our economic relationship, our people to people relationship, human rights issues and I would expect some of the issues... cyber security, may indeed some up."

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The PM spoke from Beijing, after the GCSB denied Huawei from setting up New Zealand’s 5G network in November, 2018. Source: 1 NEWS