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China's top political advisor vows more party-to-party exchanges with New Zealand Labor Party

WELLINGTON, April 18 (Xinhua) -- China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin met with leader of New Zealand's opposition Labor Party David Shearer in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon, and called for more party-to-party exchanges and cooperation.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), hailed the achievements China and New Zealand witnessed in the 40 years since establishment of diplomatic ties.

He said the Labor Party is an important political strength of New Zealand, which always pursues a friendly policy toward China. The bilateral free trade agreement signed in 2008 when the Labor Party was in power, was an important achievement of China-New Zealand cooperation, and played a great role in the two countries' economic development and their fight against the international financial crisis.

The increasing bilateral trade under the circumstance of financial crisis showcased the reciprocity and broad prospect for the two sides' economic and trade cooperation, Jia said.

He noted party-to-party relationship is an important component of nations' relations. The Chinese side attached high importance to the friendly relationship with the Labor Party and was ready to maintain their friendly communication on the basis of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, he added.

Jia called on the two sides to enhance exchanges and discussion on issues such as national governance and improvement of people's living conditions, so as to promote the friendly relationship between the two countries.

Shearer said the Labor Party attached high importance to relations with China, and hailed the achievements the two countries scored when the party was in power, including the establishment of diplomatic ties and the signing of the free trade agreement.

Both New Zealand's ruling and opposition parties are in favor of the development of New Zealand-China ties. The growing reciprocal cooperation and cultural exchanges also made the two peoples more intimate, he said.

Shearer vowed that the Labor Party will continue to endeavor for cooperation with China and push forward the bilateral relations.

Prior to the meeting, Jia went to the National Museum for the inauguration ceremony of the two countries' exchange of exhibition between national museums that marked the 40th anniversary of ties. The New Zealand side also prepared a welcoming ceremony full of Maori cultural characteristics for Jia.

Jia started his official good-will visit to New Zealand on April 15 and will fly to Brunei on April 18.

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