Ardern: No scheduled Biden meeting doesn't diminish US trip

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says heading to the US without a meeting scheduled with President Joe Biden "by no means diminishes the remainder of the trip".

Ardern heads to the US this week, leading a delegation with a "significant focus on trade, investment and tourism".

A meeting with Biden has not been confirmed due to Covid protocols, with Ardern only just coming out of isolation over the weekend after having Covid.

"The US is also a market where our sustainability message really matters, that's why there's that particular focus for this trade delegation as well," she told media last week.

"We will be unashamedly promoting New Zealand in the US as being ready to welcome visitors."

Ardern said that it would also provide an opportunity to connect with tech companies on the Christchurch Call.

She said the current climate around the world meant it was an important time for political engagement.

"We live in this time where there is increasingly a perspective of polarised approach where countries sit in one camp or another. NZ determines its relationships based on its values, it has strong relationships with the US, I can only see that continuing to increase but equally I see those relationships increasing in Europe as well."

READ MORE: Ardern off to US to promote trade, tourism, Biden meeting unclear

She referenced US' engagement with new NATO applicants, the focus on what the war in Ukraine means for the world and the Indo-Pacific region.

Ardern said she had not been in contact with Biden around her trip plan - "you don't just drop the President of the United States a line around the logistics of your trip".

She said not going to the White House "by no means diminishes the remainder of the trip".

On her speech to Harvard, Ardern said she had spent a lot of time thinking about it but only started crafting it over the past three weeks.

While Ardern headed to the US, Biden was in Japan launching an Indo-Pacific trade deal.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the details of which were still being ironed out, has 13 members and included the likes of the US, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In a speech to the region's leaders, Ardern said New Zealand "warmly welcomes" the framework "as a strong signal of US investment in the economic future of our wider home region".

She said the framework would "new channels of collaboration" in the Indo-Pacific region that weren't restricted to trade.

"This initiative comes at a time of challenge to our region's security and prosperity," Ardern added, as countries emerged from the pandemic and China continued to grow its economic and military might.

"The post-Covid world will be a new era. Our goal has to be to make it a better era."

The new framework comes after former US President Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2017.