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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Manila last night for the East Asia Summit, where she will be mixing with almost the same crew she met at Apec in Vietnam.
Except this time her diplomacy skills will be tested, because her host is Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has gained international notoriety for his encouragement of unlawful killing of drug traffickers.
And Ms Ardern has signalled further efforts to resolve the Manus Island crisis, which could put her on a collision course with Australia.
She is due to have a bilateral meeting with Mr Duterte today, at which she is expected to find a polite way of saying New Zealand is outraged by the way he dispenses justice.
An Amnesty International report in June said police had taken under-the-table payments to carry out the killings — estimated to be more than 6000 — and had recruited paid killers to conduct executions as well.
Ms Ardern is also expected to hold formal talks withCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
With the TPP on hold indefinitely, New Zealand will be looking to quickly progress its trade talks with the EU, making talks with Mr Tusk a priority.
The Philippines is hosting a meeting of Asean, a grouping of 10 Southeast Asian countries, today and eight more countries will join it tomorrow, to form the East Asia Summit.
Russia, China and the United States will all attend but China’s Premier Li Keqiang will be there instead of President Xi Jinping. Donald Trump will attend the Asean summit only, not the East Asia Summit.
During several other meetings planned for Ms Ardern, the TPP, now renamed the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership), may be canvassed.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters will be with Ms Ardern and Associate Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will attend a meeting of countries negotiating a trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
It is being led by China and includes India but is said to be far less ambitious than the TPP.
- Additional reporting by NZN