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Will's Word: Luxon and Li navigate tricky waters to find common ground

Pacific Mornings host William Terite weighs in on the awkward bilateral between Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and China’s Premier Li Qiang.

This is a transcript from Will’s Word on Friday, 14th of June.

The recent meeting between New Zealand's Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and China's Premier Lee was likely pretty awkward.

Picture this: two leaders, each representing nations with a lot on their plates, coming together to talk business at Government House in Wellington.

On one side, you've got Luxon, trying to keep things friendly while dealing with the fact that New Zealand supports the AUKUS defence pact, something China isn't too happy about.

China's ambassador even said joining AUKUS would be like picking sides, which is never a comfortable position to be in when you're trying to maintain good relations with everyone.

Then there's the whole human rights issue.

New Zealand has spoken up about China's treatment of Uighur Muslims and called out China for cyber-attacks on its parliament.

These are serious topics that can't just be swept under the rug when leaders meet.

So, while Luxon and Li probably exchanged pleasantries and talked about trade (which is always important), you can bet there were some tense moments too.

It's a reminder that diplomacy isn't always smooth sailing, especially when there are big issues at stake.

…. That’s Will’s Word…