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A fond farewell and a shared hope for ongoing friendship between China and New Zealand - The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand holds a farewell reception in honor of Ambassador Wang Lutong and Madam Yang Pengbo

On November 8, 2017, the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand held a farewell reception for Ambassador Wang Lutong and Madam Yang Pengbo at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Over 400 people attended, including New Zealand's new Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford; Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor; Minister of Defence Ron Mark; former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley; Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Timothy Keating; President of National Party Peter Goodfellow; Members of Parlianemt Todd McClay, Jian Yang and Raymond Huo; Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Samoa High Commissioner Leasi Tommy Scanlan; high level officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Defence; Foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners; public figures from the wider community; Overseas Chinese; Representatives from local Chinese enterprises and Overseas Chinese students.

Ambassador Wang Lutong addresses the audience

In his speech, Ambassador Wang Lutong, on behalf of the Chinese Government, expressed his congratulations on the formation of the new government of New Zealand. He also thanked the National Party and other political parties for their contributions in promoting the development of China-New Zealand relations. Ambassador Wang noted that both of the two major milestones in bilateral relations - the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and New Zealand and the conclusion of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, were achieved during the previous Labour Party's administration. Developing relations with China has continued to be an important focus of the New Zealand Government ever since. Upon the installation of the new government last month, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent congratulatory letters to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters respectively. The Chinese leaders highly commended New Zealand's Labour Party for its important contributions in the promotion of exchanges and cooperation between the two countries over the years, and recognized it as the pioneer of China-New Zealand relations. The Chinese side is keen to enhance dialogue with the New Zealand side and to further advance the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries for their mutual gain.

Ambassador Wang noted that October is an important time for both China and New Zealand. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) set forth a grand blueprint for China's future development. Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was established as the guiding ideology for CPC. China will continue to pursue reforms and the open door policy,to follow the path of peaceful development and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China's development not only benefits itself, but also brings development opportunities to the rest of the world including New Zealand. Ambassador Wang Lutong noted that his four-year tenure in New Zealand had passed all too quickly, leaving him with unforgettable memories. Ambassador Wang expressed his gratitude to the New Zealand Government, its people and the wider community for their support and assistance rendered to him and for the promotion of the development of China-New Zealand relations. He believed that bilateral relations would have brighter prospects with the continued joint efforts of the two countries. Ambassador Wang also thanked all the staff members of the Chinese Embassy for their hard work.


Dean of Diplomatic Corps in New Zealand and Samoa High Commissioner Leasi Tommy Scanlan addresses the audience

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford addresses the audience

In his speech, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in New Zealand and Samoa High Commissioner Leasi Tommy Scanlan praised Ambassador Wang for his successful tenure and thanked him for his support to the Diplomatic Corps. High Commissioner Scanlan also presented a gift to Ambassador Wang and Madam Yang Pengbo. Housing and Urban Development Minister Twyford and Minister of Agriculture O'Connor thanked Ambassador Wang, on behalf of Prime Minister Ardern and the New Zealand Government, for his contribution to the development of China-New Zealand relations. Acknowledging the history between the Labour Party and China, the ministers stated that the new government will, as always, prioritise China-New Zealand relations and be proactive in strengthening this bond. The close relationship between the two countries is not only reflected in economic and trade relations but also in a range of areas, including political and cultural exchanges. Former Trade Minister and MP Todd McClay noted that China-New Zealand relations have been developing solidly with rapid growth in economic and trade cooperation in particular. The two-way trade has reached NZ$20billion and the two countries are striving to reach the goal of NZ$30billion by 2020. China is playing an increasingly important role both in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. The relationship with China is becoming more and more important to the New Zealand Government. Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley reviewed the recent years' achievements made by China and New Zealand in the areas of economy, trade, finance and business, noting that New Zealand will continue to take an active role in the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and participate in the 'Belt and Road' cooperation.

Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor addresses the audience 

Former Trade Minister and MP Todd McClay addresses the audience

At the reception, representatives from the Chinese community performed traditional dances and musical pieces with traditional instruments. Students from Samuel Marsden Collegiate School staged a wonderful traditional Chinese dance for the audience. The atmosphere of the reception was rich in Chinese culture.

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley addresses the audience

Ambassador Wang Lutong and his wife pose for photos with Chinese actors from the Chinese community and the students of Wellington Samuel Marsden School


Reflecting on the close collaboration and shared friendship of the past four years, guests from the wider community and Overseas Chinese all found it hard to say goodbye to Ambassador Wang. The guests, and Ambassador Wang and Madam Yang, exchanged fond farewells and posed for pictures together. Everyone has a desire to see China-New Zealand relations continue to flourish and a long-lasting friendship between the two countries will be forged.

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