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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Key and Wen to discuss China's human rights, Dalai Lama

April 16, 2009

New Zealand Herald
April 15, 2009

Concerns that aid from China to Fiji could
undermine international efforts to restore
democracy to the troubled Pacific nation may be
addressed at a top level meeting in Beijing,
Prime Minister John Key said today.

Mr Key is scheduled to hold talks with Premier Wen Jiabao tonight.

The primary focus will be on strengthening
economic ties and building upon the trade
agreement signed with China one year ago.

However the meeting is also likely to touch on
thornier issues such as China's human rights
record and China's desire for the Dalai Lama to
be shunned by New Zealand and Fiji.

Some fear that China will undermine sanctions
against the military regime in Fiji by handing
out aid directly to the self-appointed government.

Mr Key said if there was time at the meeting and
it was appropriate he would raise the issue.

"Well directed aid plays an important part in the
Pacific and we are keen to work with the Chinese
and others where it makes sense to co-ordinate
that aid. Our concern is obvious really, which is
that the risk, in the case of Fiji, is that they
can circumvent the process if aid is not well directed," Mr Key said.

Asked if he would request China to join in
sanctions, Mr Key said: "We are not planning to
and I think it unlikely they would agree."

China was a sovereign nation like New Zealand and would decide its own course.

"In the end countries have their own unilateral
right to determine their own aid programme and
the appropriateness of that, but from our point
of view we care deeply about the regional
governance issues and the stability of the
Pacific, so we wouldn't like to see things that undermine that process."

Mr Key said there had been no pressure at last
night's meeting with President Hu Jintao not to
meet the Dalai Lama, but at official levels the
Chinese have made it clear it was an issue of concern to them.

The main focus of the meeting would be how to
increase trade with China and build on the free trade agreement.

Today New Zealand is signing an agreement with
China where both countries will promise to work
together to increase tourism between the two countries.

Tourists from China have increased sixfold in the
past 10 years and the country is the fifth
largest source of visitors with 112,000 coming
last year, boosting the economy by $300 million.

"One of the very positive steps is that we have
received confirmation that Air New Zealand has a
new take-off slot from Beijing which is more
sympathetic to the local conditions, it will land
(in New Zealand) at 5am instead of landing at 3am or 2am," Mr Key said.

"It is a more friendly time for New Zealanders
returning home and for business people coming
into New Zealand and secondly it will allow them
to travel to other parts of New Zealand, to get
off that plane and fly, say, to Wellington."

Air NZ was also looking to beef up its service to
China. In Beijing today Mr Key was signing an
agreement on tourism and giving a speech at
Peking University, before meeting with Premier Wen.

On Thursday he travels to Shanghai for a series
of business focused events before going to the
Boao Forum in Sanya over the weekend.

The forum is China's regional economic forum
which many regional leaders and business people attend.

Mr Key will be hoping that this leg of his first
foray into Asia as prime minister will go more smoothly than the first.

He had been hoping to attend the East Asian
Summit last weekend, but got no further than
Bangkok airport as anti-government protesters
invaded the venue and forced its cancellation.

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