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Symposium on the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand was successfully held

    On December 5, the Symposium on the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand was held at Victoria University of Wellington. The Symposium was jointly organised by the Confucius Institute at Victoria University, the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, the New Zealand China Council and the New Zealand China Trade Association. The Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand and Mr. Xie Yuan, Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), attended the symposium and gave keynote speeches. Over 100 people participated in the event, including Mr. Qu Guangzhou, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand; Mr. Ben King, Deputy Secretary of the Americas and Asia Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; former New Zealand Ambassadors to China; New Zealand government officials; scholars from academic institutions and think tanks; students and the media.

    In his keynote speech, Mr. Peters briefly reflected on the history of bilateral exchanges between China and New Zealand, and spoke highly of the tremendous progress made over the past 45 years. In recent years, high-level visits between the two countries have increased significantly. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to New Zealand and the bilateral relationship was upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership. In March 2017, the successful visit to New Zealand by Premier Li Keqiang further consolidated the comprehensive strategic partnership. In November this year, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held a bilateral meeting during the East Asia Summit. The two sides agreed to further strengthen this relationship on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit for the well-being of both peoples. Mr. Peters also met with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was looking forward to visiting China next year.

    Mr. Peters noted that over the past 45 years, New Zealand and China have created multiple 'firsts' in economic and trade cooperation, and exchanges between the two countries in the areas of culture, education, tourism and science and technology continue to deepen. Bilateral trade in the FY 2016/17 has reached NZ$24 billion. China is New Zealand's second largest trading partner and its largest export market. At present, there are 36 direct flights between the two countries every week with up to 80 direct flights in peak seasons. At present, there are over 38,000 Chinese students studying in New Zealand schools across all levels and over 40,000 New Zealand primary and secondary school students learning Chinese at school. The number of sister provinces, sister states and sister cities between China and New Zealand has reached 45.

    Mr. Peters spoke highly of the cooperation between China and New Zealand in regional and multilateral affairs, noting that the sustainable prosperity and security of the Asia Pacific region is important to both countries. New Zealand has full confidence in the future of China-New Zealand relations and is willing to work with China to promote the sustainable development of bilateral relations and the well-being of both peoples.

    In his keynote speech, Mr. Xie briefed the audience on CPAFFC's role to promote international cooperation, common development and friendship between China and the rest of the world, especially the contribution made by CPAFFC in the promotion of China–New Zealand relations. Mr. Xie noted that the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has developed a programme of action and a blueprint for socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era. This is of key significance and the potential for future development between China and New Zealand is huge. Mr. Xie encouraged the two countries to build on this 45th Anniversary and continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit and equality.

    Reflecting on the history of China–New Zealand relations, the participating experts, scholars, former New Zealand Ambassadors to China and youth representatives enthusiastically affirmed the future development of bilateral relations between the two countries while engaging in discussions with the audience.

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