23 Nov 2008

China's premier invites Key to China

5:51 pm on 23 November 2008

China's premier, Hu Jintao, has invited Prime Minister John Key to China after the two leaders met at the APEC summit in the Peruvian capital of Lima on Sunday.

Mr Key told reporters the two had a long talk, discussing trade, China's recent $600 billion fiscal stimulus package, and the global economy.

Mr Key said it was clear from the conversation that the Chinese leader holds New Zealand in high regard.

But he said the two didn't discuss the recent controversy over tainted milk powder produced by the Fonterra subsidiary, Sanlu, which led to the death of three Chinese babies.

Mr Key also met the outgoing US president George Bush briefly and said he expects to have a longer conversation with him before he leaves on Monday.

Key and Rudd pledge united action

The economic crisis dominated talks between John Key and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd at the APEC summit on Saturday.

The pair committed to work together to bring a successful conclusion to the Doha round of trade talks at the meeting of APEC leaders over the next two days.

Mr Key has met Mr Rudd before but Saturday's meeting was the first time they have met as leaders following the National Party's election victory on 8 November.

The Australian Labor Party leader congratulated Mr Key on his election victory and pledged to continue working constructively with New Zealand despite their political differences.

And Mr Rudd committed to represent New Zealand's interests at the G20 meeting of industrialised nations in April, where more tangible decisions to address the global economic crisis outside trade issues are expected.

They planned to discuss the close economic relationship between the countries but Mr Key ruled out a short- to medium-term prospect of New Zealand adopting the Australian currency as part of a monetary union.

"At this stage, there's a lot of other things we can do to enhance a single economic market," Mr Key said.