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Chinese Embassy in New Zealand holds a reception to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Ties between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand

   On December 12, the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand held a grand reception at TSB Bank Arena in Wellington to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand. Over 400 people attended the event, including Madam Yan Junqi, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and President of the Chinese Association for International Understanding; Mr. Qu Guangzhou, Charge d'Affaires of Chinese Embassy; Mr. Fletcher Tabuteau, MP and parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Regional Economic Development; Members of Parliament; government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Defense; members of Diplomatic Corps, representatives from Chinese enterprises in New Zealand, Overseas Chinese and students.

   Madam Yan delivered a speech on behalf of the Chinese side. She noted that over the past 45 years, with the joint efforts of both governments and peoples, China-New Zealand relations have made great strides, achieving multiple 'firsts.' The relationship between China and New Zealand has become the model of China's relations with Western developed countries and brought tangible benefits to both peoples. With increasing high-level visits between the two countries, political mutual trust continues to deepen. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to New Zealand and bilateral relations were upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership and a new blueprint for its future development was outlined. In March this year, Premier Li Keqiang paid a successful visit to New Zealand, elevating China-New Zealand relations by injecting new impetus into bilateral relations and pragmatic cooperation in all areas. In November, Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the East Asia Summit. The two sides agreed to further strengthen China–New Zealand relations on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit for the well-being of the two peoples.

   Madam Yan noted that China-New Zealand economic and trade cooperation is progressing smoothly, creating a structure that leads to mutually beneficial results. Today, China has become New Zealand's second largest trading partner and its largest export market. At present, the two countries are striving to realise the NZ$30 billion goal for two-way trade by 2020. Increasing bilateral cultural exchanges have strengthened friendship between the two countries. New Zealand is the first Western developed country to hold a 'National Chinese Language Week'- an initiative instigated by the government. There are three Confucius Institutes and 30 Confucius Classrooms in New Zealand with more than 40,000 primary and secondary school students learning Chinese at school. The number of Chinese students studying in New Zealand schools across all levels is over 38,000. China is New Zealand's second largest source of tourists and its fifth-largest tourist destination. In 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand has reached 410,000. At present, there are 36 direct flights between the two countries every week with up to 80 direct flights in peak seasons. The number of sister provinces, sister states and sister cities between China and New Zealand has reached 35.

   Madam Yan also spoke highly of Rewi Alley, an old friend of the Chinese people, who had devoted his whole life to China–New Zealand friendship. Madam Yan also expressed her gratitude to New Zealand's previous administrations, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the wider community and the Overseas Chinese in New Zealand for their contributions to the development of bilateral relations. She stressed that the most important reason for the smooth development of bilateral relations is that both China and New Zealand are able to take into consideration the core interests and major concerns of the other country. In doing so, both nations adhere to the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefit, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and basic equality. Not only have these principles enabled success in the China-New Zealand relationship, they are also fundamental for securing its future development.

   Madam Yan noted that today, China-New Zealand relations are at a new historic starting point facing new development opportunities. In October this year, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China marked the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China will continue to uphold the path of peaceful development, support the multilateral trade system and promote the building of an open world economy. China's development not only benefits itself, but also brings development opportunities to other countries in the world, including New Zealand. China and New Zealand should join hands to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership and further advance the cooperation in all fields.

   On behalf of the New Zealand Government, Mr Fletcher Tabuteau extended his congratulations on the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Ties between the two countries. Mr Tabuteau spoke highly of the tremendous development of bilateral relations over the past 45 years which fully affirmed the fruitful results of bilateral pragmatic cooperation in all fields. He noted that since the formation of the new Government, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have strengthened bilateral relations by meeting with Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi respectively. Two-way trade between China and New Zealand continues to grow, rising from NZ$1.7 million at the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic ties to NZ$24 billion today. Increasing cooperation between the two countries at local government level and between non-governmental organisations has greatly enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

   Mr Tabuteau appreciated the in-depth exchanges between the delegation led by Madam Yan and New Zealand Parliament, non-governmental organisations and the wider community. He also mentioned that this year marked the 120th Anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley and the 90th Anniversary of his first arrival in China. As the pioneer of the China–New Zealand friendship, Rewi Alley committed his entire life to the enhancement of mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries. Mr. Tabuteau concluded by noting that the development of relations between China and New Zealand is in the best interests of both countries and that the New Zealand Government has full confidence in the future of its relationship with China.

   Co-sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand and Xinhua News Agency Wellington Branch, a photo exhibition commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and New Zealand was held at the reception. Featuring 29 photos capturing important historical moments in the past 45 years, the exhibition attracted the attention of numerous participants. During the reception, the attending guests applauded the tremendous progress made in the bilateral relations between China and New Zealand and wished this relationship a prosperous future. The atmosphere of the reception was friendly and convivial.

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