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China relationship a top priority for Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Differing relationships with China are expected to be a top priority when Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on Monday for the leaders’ meeting.

Mr Morrison offered some remarks ahead of the event.

“Our partnership here with New Zealand will focus on key issues like regional security and important topics like biosecurity,” he said.

“There are the regional security issues for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we’re Five Eyes partners.

“We have been alongside each other in favouring a world that favours freedom for a very long time, so we’ll have the opportunity to talk through those issues and how we can each reinforce our joint efforts to ensure a free and independent Indo-Pacific”.

When asked specifically if his visit was because New Zealand’s “soft approach” to China was “splintering” the relationship, Mr Morrison downplayed the trip.

“This is an annual leaders’ dialogue, we meet every year, and we work through the issues that are part of that very successful partnership, whether it’s the economic partnership or the security partnership,” he said.

Mr Morrison also said a travel bubble beyond Australia and New Zealand was a “real possibility”.

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