Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Auckland today and tomorrow and will meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters to discuss trade, co-operation and global efforts to denuclearise North Korea.

"We share a commitment to maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in our region," Ardern said.

"In particular, New Zealand welcomes the Republic of Korea's efforts towards resolving the long-standing challenges on the Korean Peninsula."

Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook are on their way home from the G20 summit in Argentina, where Washington reaffirmed its hardline on sanctions against North Korea.


North Korea has suspended nuclear and missile tests as it tries to improve relations with the outside world, but had been angered by Washington's refusal to ease sanctions.

US President Donald Trump said as he was leaving G20 that he hoped to organise a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in early 2019, and will push for a concrete plan to end its arms programmes.

Differences have emerged between Washington and Seoul on how to proceed with North Korea, as Moon has long favoured engagement with the North.

Moon may seek New Zealand's support in its approach to North Korea during a bilateral meeting tomorrow with Ardern and Peters.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook Moon are on their way home from the G20 summit in Argentina. Photo / AP
South Korea President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook Moon are on their way home from the G20 summit in Argentina. Photo / AP

New Zealand is active in the monitoring of UN sanctions against North Korea, deploying an Air Force P-3K2 plane to patrol international waters in North Asia for signs of vessels undertaking activities such as ship-to-ship transfers.

In announcing the deployment in September, Peters indicated that New Zealand would not support an easing of sanctions without progress from North Korea.

"Until such time as North Korea abides by its international obligations, full implementation of the United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions will be essential."

Moon and Ardern are also expected to discuss bilateral co-operation, including links between New Zealand's Pacific reset policy and South Korea's New Southern Policy, which is aimed at Southeast Asia but is likely to extend to the Pacific.


Trade is also likely to feature, following New Zealand and South Korea signing a free trade agreement in 2015.

Ardern met with Moon on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and Apec last month, and he has visited New Zealand in 2006 and in 2015.

"Korea is New Zealand's fifth largest goods trading partner and an important source of high-quality investment," Ardern said.

"We work together in Antarctica, co-produce films and collaborate on innovative science and technology. New Zealand is also home to a vibrant Korean community, with more Koreans visiting New Zealand every year."

Moon will also meet with Opposition leader Simon Bridges today and Korean-born National MP Melissa Lee.

Moon's programme in Auckland includes a ceremony of welcome and a state lunch hosted by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House, a wreath laying ceremony and tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum, and an engagement with the Korean community in Auckland.