Top Asian News 12:47 a.m. GMT

China's Premier Li is visiting New Zealand, where security fears vie with trade hopes on the agenda

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — China’s Premier Li Qiang arrived in New Zealand on Thursday, beginning a rare visit to its closest partner among Western democracies, where a celebration of trade links is expected to vie with concerns about South Pacific security on Wellington's agenda. China’s No. 2 official, Li is the first Chinese premier to visit New Zealand since a 2017 visit by Li Keqiang. He will also visit Australia and Malaysia, China's Foreign Ministry said this week. The trip coincides with easing tensions between Australia and China that have vexed the relationship in recent years. New Zealand's Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is expected to salute trade links with China in public statements this week.