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Ambassador Wang Lutong attends a ceremony welcoming the 'Xue Long' (Snow Dragon) research vessel's visit to New Zealand

On the afternoon of January 17, a welcome ceremony for the ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel’s visit to New Zealand was held at Christchurch’s Lyttelton Port. Ambassador Wang Lutong, New Zealand government representative - National Party MP Mr Nuk Korako, Consul General in Christchurch Mr Jin Zhijian and over 100 New Zealand and Chinese guests attended the ceremony.

In his speech, Ambassador Wang Lutong extended a warm welcome to the crew of the ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel and to all the Chinese and foreign scientists on board. Ambassador Wang also expressed his sincere thanks to New Zealand for the support provided to the vessel. Ambassador Wang noted that last November, President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to New Zealand and upgraded bilateral relations between the two countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Twenty-five cooperation documents were signed and renewed during President Xi’s visit including the Antarctic Cooperation Arrangement, which commenced a new chapter in China-New Zealand Antarctic cooperation. The visit of the ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel to New Zealand was an important activity to bring the relevant cooperation arrangements into effect. As one of the pioneer countries undertaking expeditions to Antarctica, New Zealand had accumulated extensive experience in many relevant fields, including Antarctic research and logistics support. With China’s increased engagement in Antarctic expeditions, the two sides expect to further strengthen their collaboration in the fields of logistics support, scientific research, environmental protection and personnel exchanges.

New Zealand government representative - National Party MP Mr Nuk Korako, Christchurch Chief Executive Karleen Edwards, Lyttelton Port Company Chief Executive Peter Davies and Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand Peter Beggs delivered speeches warmly welcoming the Snow Dragon’s visit to New Zealand. Speakers noted that this visit represented a historic moment in China-New Zealand Antarctic collaboration and was testament to China and New Zealand’s close cooperation. In light of the bright prospects for China-NZ cooperation on Antarctic matters, New Zealand hoped to join hands with China to implement the Antarctic Cooperation Arrangements, making Antarctic cooperation a new highlight of the broader bilateral relationship.

The arrival of the ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel was marked by a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony and haka. New Zealand Chinese representatives also welcomed the research vessel with traditional Chinese music and a joyful dragon and lion dance.

Ambassador Wang was interviewed by New Zealand TV ONE before the welcoming ceremony.

Chinese and foreign guests boarded the ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel for a visit after the ceremony.

The ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel arrived at Lyttelton Port on the afternoon of January 16 to replenish supplies and rotate crews. A Research Vessel ‘Open Day’ would also be held during its stay at the Lyttelton Port. The ‘Snow Dragon’ research vessel will depart to return to the Antarctic on January 20 to continue its expedition activities.

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