Jacinda Ardern at APEC: What she plans to tell Xi Jinping, and why she plans to give Canada's Justin Trudeau a 'ribbing'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will on Thursday travel to Thailand for the annual APEC leaders summit, during which it's understood she will have a formal sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ardern also plans to have quick chats - referred to as "pull asides" - with a number of other world leaders in Bangkok, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

New Zealand and Canada are currently locked in a trade dispute over Ottawa's implementation of dairy tariff rate quotas under a free trade agreement both countries are a party to. New Zealand this month escalated that, calling for a panel to settle the disagreement.

The Prime Minister overnight said it is best left to officials, but she might have a word with Trudeau. 

"Actually, now, that has got its own pathway. That has already been elevated. There is already a process for that. If anything, I would probably give him a bit of a ribbing over it."

Ardern's previously said she told Trudeau "to his face" that she believed the dispute needed to be escalated if the pair couldn't resolve it themselves. 

Trudeau's been in the crosshairs of one world leader this week - the Chinese President. Video emerged showing Xi expressing his anger to the Canadian leader over alleged leaks of their closed-door meeting at the G20 summit in Bali. 

Xi is expected to meet with Ardern this coming weekend, their first face-to-face meeting since the New Zealand Prime Minister visited Beijing in 2019. However, they had a phone conversation last year ahead of New Zealand hosting APEC.

Ardern told reporters she would raise China's recent assertiveness in the Pacific as well as human rights issues, such as the treatment of the Uighur people in the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

A United Nations report in September found "serious human rights violations" are occurring in Xinjiang and potentially amount to crimes against humanity. New Zealand this month joined 49 other countries in calling for China to urgently respond to the report, which Beijing has said is nonsense.

"Some of these issues are things that we've been raising consistently for years. I think that's really one of the incredibly important things about New Zealand and its relationship with the likes of China," Ardern said. 

"We say nothing publicly that we don't say privately. We're very transparent and we're very consistent, so we have been raising those issues consistently. And we would continue to do so."

She also expects to raise with Xi China's position on Russia. 

The Asian superpower, which before the Ukraine invasion announced a "no limits friendship" with Russia, has been reluctant to criticise Moscow over its aggression.

"You will have seen from some of the public reporting that consistently leaders are raising the issue of the relationship that China has with Russia and what might be possible would be to try and again see an end to the war," said Ardern.

"New Zealand as well is seeking every opportunity to seek an end, to seek a change in position by Russia, and that includes talking to those who may have closer relationships."

China's recent moves in the Pacific - including signing a security cooperation agreement with the Solomon Islands - raised some alarm bells, including in New Zealand. 

"We're opposed to the militarisation of our region. So that does not mean that there is no place for aid and development. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for infrastructure development," Ardern said.

"China has had a relationship in the Pacific that goes back many, many years. Our concern is the nature of some of that engagement, like the potential for militarisation in our region."

Newshub also understands a meeting has been confirmed with US Vice President Kamala Harris at the APEC summit. Harris will be there in Biden's place because he will be at his granddaughter's wedding.

Ardern had a quick chat with Biden at another summit this week in Cambodia.