7 Nov 2014

Week of Key issues for PM

8:37 am on 7 November 2014

The Prime Minister flies to Beijing on Sunday for the start of a round of international meetings which end next weekend in Brisbane with the G20 summit of the world's largest economies.

John Key says he will use the meetings, which include New Zealand's largest trading partners, to push this country's credentials as a good place to do business.

John Key with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during a visit in March.

John Key with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing during a visit in March. Photo: AFP

But the meetings will also be overshadowed by worries about the crisis in Ukraine, the threat posed by the disease Ebola that has killed thousands in west Africa and its further spread the rise of jihadist group Islamic State.

Mr Key's first stop will be the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' meeting in China before attending the East Asian Summit in Myanmar and the G20 in Australia.

"Our largest trading will also be at these summits, so they will provide a great opportunity to promote New Zealand as a good place to do business and invest in. It will also allow us to get a better sense of the key challenges facing our major partners," he says.

"I return home on Friday before heading to Australia on Saturday for the G20 which will provide me with another opportunity to meet with leaders from some of our closest trading partners."

Medical workers in Amsterdam undergo training to treat Ebola. The fatal disease has already killed thousands in west Africa and it's feared it will beome more widespread.

Medical workers in Amsterdam undergo training to treat Ebola. The fatal disease has already killed thousands in west Africa and it's feared it will beome more widespread. Photo: AFP / ANP

However, trade and business will not be the only matters discussed. The chief executive of the Northern Employers' and Manufacturers' Association, Kim Campbell, says there will be plenty on the minds of leaders at the Apec meeting.

"I suspect what we are going to see in Beijing is a subtext of a lot of the instability that's in the world that's worrying people. The Ukraine with Russia, the European deflation I think will be a worry because the Chinese hold over 1.5 trillion euros," Mr Campbell says.

He believes that North Korea, tensions between China and Japan, the protests in Hong Kong, the rise of Islamic State and Ebola are likely to be raised during the Apec meeting.

It is also likely that many of those matters will be discussed at the East Asian Summit and the G20 meeting.

Labour Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer.

David Shearer Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Labour's foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer said it was no accident John Key outlined the Government's plans to respond to Islamic State before attending these international meetings.

"He wants to be able to mix it with people there on the ground in Apec, and particularly in the G20, with a commitment on the table about what New Zealand is going to do. I would imagine that the security situation in ISIS will be a dominant feature of those discussions in the margins," Mr Shearer says.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said he expects Mr Key will simply parrot the American line when it comes to security matters.

But Dr Norman says there is another matter Mr Key should raise at the G20 meeting.

"I think he should definitely be using his presence at the G20 to push for climate change to be part of the discussions. Many other countries are pushing for climate change to be part of the discussion at the G20 but of course (Australian Prime Minister) Tony Abbott is resisting so it would be very useful if New Zealand would support that push," he says.

Meanwhile, at the Apec meeting in Beijing no time has been set aside for a meeting of those countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Mr Key still thinks leaders might talk about the proposed economic deal on the sidelines of the Apec meeting, but is not optimistic an agreement will be reached anytime soon.

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