New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid tribute to outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the pair met virtually at the Asia-Pacific trade group Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – APEC meeting on Friday.

During a 20-minute talk about the state of the world, Jacinda Ardern reminisced about one of her earlier meetings with Merkel.

Jacinda Ardern said that It’s not often when you come from a small island nation, that you’ll find someone of such heft in the world of international diplomacy who felt genuinely interested in the views of a humble New Zealander.

“Chancellor Merkel, your constant engagement with the world and thoughtfulness and willingness to hear the perspectives of others, in my mind, is a reflection of a true leader but also just a very good person.”

After thanking Ardern and APEC for inviting her, Merkel said: “Germany will continue to be a fair partner in the world once I’ve left office.”

Ardern will chair the Leaders’ meeting overnight Friday, where 21 leaders will discuss Covid-19 and further regional trade and economic cooperation between member economies.

“APEC’s focus remains on the regional response and recovery from COVID-19. Together we are continuing to keep supply chains functioning and are supporting trade in critical medical supplies – including testing kits, PPE and now vaccines,” Ardern said in a statement.

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