Jacinda Ardern says meeting with President Joe Biden was 'warm and friendly'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her meeting with President Joe Biden in the White House was "warm" and "friendly". 

The meeting in the Oval Office was meant to be an hour but went for an hour and a half.

It was the first meeting a New Zealand Prime Minister has had in the White House since 2014 when  Sir John Key met with then President Barack Obama.

The pair talked about a range of topics including, the Pacific, gun control and working with tech companies about extremism. 

Ardern told media outside the White House following her meeting she was "heartened" by the conversation with Biden.

"I see the meeting with President Biden as a reflection of the relationship between New Zealand and the United States, warm, friendly, shared values and shared challenges," she said. 

"The meeting length was probably a reflection of the many issues we wanted to traverse together but I'm greatly heartened by the nature of the conversation we had today."

Before Ardern and Biden's meeting went behind closed doors, the US President said Washington had no desire to dictate to the region but to partner with them. 

"We have more work to do in those Pacific Islands," he said.

Ardern was asked if the US would be more present in the Pacific, she said they would be there on the Pacific's terms.

"I think you'll see the United States themselves have been very proactive speaking about their intentions to be in the Pacific on the Pacific's terms," she said.  

"That means hearing that strategic focus many Pacific Island leaders have, where they see their challenges, where they wish to partner and that has shone through in the way the United States has been talking about partnering in the Pacific and I saw that again reflected today."

There has been raised concerns about China's presence in the Pacific following news Beijing had signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands.

Ardern said given the contested nature of the Pacific, China was discussed in the meeting where the pair "reflected on the environment we are in". 

The Prime Minister said they had a "good conversation" about Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and denied giving up on trying to get the US to join the CPTPP, but says there are domestic realities the US have to deal with.

Ardern reflected on "our experience" with gun reform  following the March 15 terror attack, where she highlighted what New Zealand experienced, including how reform was put forward and the issues encountered during that process.

"You can imagine during this context I reflected on our experience with gun reform but it is just that, it's our experience," she said. 

"I've said all the way through to anyone that is interested in hearing it, what we experienced, how we put forward that reform, and some of the issues we encountered and I'm sure that the likes of Australia that we use their experience would be open to doing the same."

Jacinda Ardern says meeting with President Joe Biden was 'warm and friendly'
Photo credit: Newshub

Ardern made the commitment to Biden New Zealand would continue to push the Christchurch call to action. 

"You will know that one of the areas of interest on both sides is the Christchurch call to action. Our experience demonstrated our need for gun reform, but it also demonstrated what I think is an international issue around violent extremism and terrorism online," Ardern said. 

"That is an area we see absolutely a partnership we can continue to work on those issues. The US under the leadership of President Biden has joined the Christchurch call to action and the commitment I made today was that New Zealand will continue to use that call as an environment to work with tech companies and civil society."

Ardern said she invited President Biden and Vice-President Harris to New Zealand.

"You know me, of course I did. I also invited the Vice President. We are a warm, open and welcoming country and President Biden has had the opportunity to visit us before and I got the sense he would love the opportunity to do it again."  

"President Biden has had the opportunity to visit us before and I got the sense he would love the opportunity to do it again if able."

She also raised tariffs on steel and aluminium in the meeting. 

"I believe that will be something that will be looked into."

Ardern spoke about space cooperation and the Christchurch Call with Harris.