The Australian prime minister arrived in New Zealand for a face -to -face speech with Jacinda Ardern.
Leaders in Australia and New Zealand are set to hold their first face-to-face talks since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, which has a growing influence in the region and Canberra’s controversial deportation policy likely to precede on the agenda.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stopped by the resort of Queenstown in New Zealand for an overnight visit on Sunday, greeting his counterpart Jacinda Ardern with a traditional Maori hongi, in which the pair paired their noses.
Morrison was the first world leader to visit New Zealand because the two countries closed their borders last year to contain the virus.
Neighbors opened a quarantine-free travel bubble last month, even as a recent outbreak of the Melbourne virus prompted New Zealand to suspend the travel bubble in the Australian state of Victoria.
Dennis Shanahan, national newspaper editor of The Australia, said China’s growing influence in the region was the main issue in the talks.
“The issue has been pushed by Australian and New Zealand leaders by the fact that China’s influence and intervention in the region is growing. But there is a clear difference between the Australian and New Zealand sides in terms of the behavior brought to China,” he said. he was from Canberra.
Australia’s relations with China severely damaged last year, with Beijing blocking some Australian exports after Canberra excluded China-based telecommunications company Huawei from its 5G phone network and called for independent investigation of the origin of the coronavirus.
Australia has taken China’s move to ban barley exports to the World Trade Organization, which on Friday said it would provide a panel to settle the dispute to look into the lineup.
New Zealand, on the other hand, made a more hospitable approach to China, where the two countries upgraded their free trade agreements earlier this year and New Zealand’s trade minister suggesting the Morrison government show more respect for China to reap similar benefits.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s top diplomat also said last month that Wellington was “uncomfortable” with expanding the role of Five Eyes, a post-war intelligence group that also includes Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States. The comment raised speculation that New Zealand did not support the group’s criticisms of Beijing.
“New Zealand is much less affected by Chinese pressure than Australia, and is therefore more likely to call on the Australian public to take a slow line towards China,” Shanahan said.
“But the Australian view is we can’t do it, and the Australian government doesn’t want there to be a gap to be seen between Australia and New Zealand because of China’s pressure,” he added.
As well as many have talked about the talks Canberra’s policy of deporting foreigners convicted of crimes, even if they have lived in Australia all their lives.
The policy, described by Australian Home Minister Peter Dutton as “taking out the trash”, has affected New Zealand’s size balance. In recent years, Australia has deported hundreds of people from the neighboring country, including a 15-year-old boy in March.
Shanahan said an Australian compromise on the deportation issue could help it garner New Zealand’s support in its complaint against China at the WTO.
But despite many aspects of the dispute, the leaders both spearheaded their bilateral bond before the talks.
Ardern said earlier this month that Australia’s relationship was New Zealand’s “closest and most important”, while Morrison said: “Australia and New Zealand are family – we share deep historical ties of the friendship, trust and spirit of Anzac. “