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US vice-president on a flying visit

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/07/2016

Mr Biden and Mr Key will speak to the media after their talks. © Getty Images Mr Biden and Mr Key will speak to the media after their talks. United States Vice-President Joe Biden will soon be on his way to New Zealand for a meeting with Prime Minister John Key.

He's just ended a visit to Australia and is due to touch down in Auckland on Wednesday evening.

Mr Biden will attend a reception on Wednesday night and his official programme begins on Thursday.

There will be a welcoming ceremony followed by talks with Mr Key.

They'll be covering regional issues including the sensitive situation in the South China Sea, Iraq and New Zealand's role in countering Islamic State, the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement and the US elections.

Mr Biden and Mr Key will speak to the media after their talks, before going on to a wreath-laying ceremony.

They'll have lunch together before Mr Biden leaves.

Mr Key had hoped President Barack Obama would visit New Zealand before ending his term but that's a remote possibility.

It's more likely the trip will take place after Mr Obama leaves office.

"He definitely wants to come," Mr Key told reporters on Tuesday.

"The challenge is he wants to spend a lot of time here with his family, play a bit of golf... a presidential visit would be limited."

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