'Differences in perspective do not define our relationship' – Jacinda Ardern addresses Chinese business summit

Despite differences in perspective, New Zealand's relationship with China remains strong, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this morning, speaking at the Chinese business summit in Auckland.

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Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will continue working with global partners, including China, to find solutions to global problems. Source: 1 NEWS

The connection with New Zealand's largest trading partner has been in the headlines in recent months, highlighted by the decision not to allow Huawei to roll out its 5G network.

However, Ardern said she was pleased the New Zealand-China relationship was "in good shape".

New Zealand will work together with its international partners, including China, to find common solutions to global problems, including climate change, she says.

"We apply our sense of fairness and fair play to all our foreign policy as well as our domestic policies.

"We make decisions based on what's in our best interests and consistent with our values and we do this in accordance with the international rules based systems of laws and conventions upon which we all depend for our security and for the free flow of goods and services," Ms Ardern said.

"Now more than ever we cannot take that for granted.

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"From time to time, we will have points of agreement and points of divergence with our international partners, regardless of their relative size, history or political system."

There have been areas where the Government does not see eye-to-eye with China, and vice versa, but Ms Ardern says this is "only natural".

"As long as we continue to have a relationship built on mutual respect and understanding, we can and we will discuss our differences in a mature and respectful manner."

She says she is grateful for China being among the first to offer condolences following the Christchurch terrorist attack, and was pleased to be able to travel to China last month to meet with the country’s Premier and President.

While she would not comment further on the context of the visit, Ms Ardern said the relationship is dynamic, important and far-reaching.

"Politically we are in close touch, economically we are doing great things together, and our people-to-people links are growing day-by-day."

The free trade agreement had been a benefit, and "significant milestone" for both nations, she said.