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Chinese top political advisor calls for closer China-New Zealand cooperation on reconstruction

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Sunday proposed to enhance bilateral cooperation in disaster prevention and reconstruction between China and New Zealand.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in a meeting with Bob Parker, mayor of the earthquake-hit Christchurch in southern New Zealand.

Reviewing the traditional friendship between the two peoples, Jia said Christchurch is the hometown for Rewi Alley, an old friend of the Chinese people who had made positive contribution for the two people's mutual understanding and friendship.

He said the Chinese people shared the same feelings with the people of New Zealand when Christchurch was hit by the earthquake in February last year that caused the heaviest loses in nearly 80 years.

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city on Feb. 22, 2011, leaving 185 dead, including 24 Chinese students.

Jia said the Chinese people believe that the people in Christchurch will rebuild their home at an early date with the joint efforts of the city government and all sectors of the community.

He called on the two countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in disaster prevention and reconstruction.

Jia also sought more reciprocal cooperation between China and New Zealand, saying the two countries, strongly complementary in economy, have solid political, economic and public basis for the cooperation.

China was ready to work with New Zealand to take the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity, and give full play to the role of the bilateral free-trade pact and the two countries' economic development strategies, to promote the bilateral comprehensive partnership of cooperation for more achievements, Jia said.

Parker said he felt honored of and satisfied with the great progress the two countries have made in developing bilateral relations in recent years. New Zealand was proud of being the first developed country that signed free-trade agreement with China.

He vowed to join hands with the Chinese side to further strengthen bilateral cooperation on the basis of the free-trade agreement and push forward the bilateral ties to a new high.

Jia arrived in Christchurch on Sunday morning. Upon his arrival, Jia went to the Red Zone, an area most seriously damaged in the earthquake and closed for reconstruction. He also met with representatives of overseas Chinese in New Zealand, and conveyed sympathy and condolences on behalf of the Chinese government and people to the victims and their families.

Christchurch is the first stop of Jia's four-day official good- will visit to New Zealand. He will also travel to Wellington, the capital city.

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