LONDON, July 1 ― UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host New Zealand's leader Jacinda Ardern today to discuss “shared geopolitical challenges”, Downing Street said, shortly after both attended this week's Nato summit in Spain.

Johnson, who arrived back in Britain yesterday after nine days of globetrotting that also included stops at a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda and G7 gathering in Germany, is set to agree new measures to “boost the UK-New Zealand alliance”, his office said.

“The leaders are expected to discuss the security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific and the situation in Ukraine, as well as new initiatives to build on our shared values and long-standing close ties,” it added.

Britain and New Zealand signed a free trade deal in February following more than a year of talks, as London looks to ink post-Brexit agreements with traditional allies and others around the world.

Auckland also sealed a free trade deal with the European Union on Thursday after four years of talks, with Ardern visiting Brussels to hail the agreement a “historic milestone” in their relations.

Today's meeting in Downing Street will see the two leaders agree new joint cooperation, including extending a “youth mobility scheme” for highly skilled young people eager to move between the two countries, according to Johnson's office.

He and Ardern are also expected to agree a science and innovation arrangement, which it added would bring British and New Zealand researchers and technology experts together “to inspire ground-breaking science”.

“The partnership between the UK and New Zealand makes both of our countries safer and more prosperous,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

“We are working side-by-side to address new and evolving threats that threaten to undermine stability and sovereignty in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

“And now our scientists are working together to solve humanity’s toughest challenges. ― AFP