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Li calls for upgrading ties with New Zealand

Beijing's 52-year relationship with Wellington strong basis for friendship

By CAO DESHENG in Auckland, New Zealand | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-15 08:28
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Premier Li Qiang (fourth from left) and New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon (fourth from right) pose for a group photo at the closing ceremony of the China-New Zealand Education Development Forum on Friday in Auckland, New Zealand. Li is on an official visit to New Zealand that began on Thursday. RAO AIMIN/XINHUA

Premier Li Qiang called on Friday for upgrading the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and New Zealand to make the achievements of pragmatic cooperation benefit the people of both countries and contribute to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world.

Li made the remarks while addressing a welcoming banquet hosted by people from various sectors of New Zealand in Auckland. New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon attended the event.

During his speech, Li highlighted bilateral cooperation since China and New Zealand established diplomatic relations 52 years ago, saying that ties between the two countries have long been at the forefront compared to China's relations with other developed nations.

He particularly noted the historic development of the bilateral relationship over the past decade since the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and New Zealand and President Xi Jinping's state visit to New Zealand in 2014.

Cooperation between the two countries has reached an unprecedented level in scope and depth, benefiting the people of both countries and contributing significantly to regional and global stability and prosperity, Li added.

The premier pointed out the shared values between China and New Zealand, such as respect for nature and ecology, advocacy for cultural diversity, pursuit of innovation and creativity, and a desire for world peace.

He emphasized the importance of cherishing and safeguarding these commonalities as precious assets, urging both sides to leverage them for a greater role in the future development of China-New Zealand relations.

In the face of global challenges and the rapidly evolving international landscape, Li expressed China's willingness to uphold shared values with New Zealand, strengthen their traditional friendship and work toward an upgraded version of their comprehensive strategic partnership.

The premier called for deepening practical cooperation in various fields, such as biomedicine, agriculture, food, new energy and the digital economy, and enhancing communication and coordination within a multilateral framework.

In his speech at the banquet, Luxon emphasized that ties with China represent one of New Zealand's most important foreign relationships.

Over the past half-century, New Zealand and China have leveraged their economic complementarities to expand exchanges and cooperation in various fields, giving strong momentum to bilateral relations, he said.

Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between New Zealand and China — a significant milestone in the development of bilateral relations — the prime minister said his country is committed to prioritizing its relationship with China.

Wellington is willing to work together with Beijing to deepen exchanges and cooperation in areas, such as trade, agriculture, intellectual property rights, education and tourism, while also addressing global challenges, such as climate change, for the benefit of both peoples, Luxon added.

Before the banquet, the two leaders also met with representatives from various sectors of New Zealand.

Li expressed gratitude to them for their contributions to the development of China-New Zealand relations.

He encouraged them to continue their efforts to play a more positive and constructive role in advancing the development of bilateral relations and friendship between the two countries, thus elevating the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights.

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