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Remarks by HE Ambassador Wang Xiaolong at the Global Cities New Zealand Forum
Grand Hall, Parliament Building, 10 Nov 2022
2022-11-12 09:46

Dear President Smith,

Hon Minister Sio,

Members of Parliament,

Emeritus President Hiromi Morris 

Fellow members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

It gives me pleasure to be invited to the Global Cities New Zealand Forum. Let me begin by extending my warm congratulations to Global Cities NZ on convening this important event. In line with the theme for today: celebrating NZ’s global connections, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my perspectives on the China-New Zealand relations. I suppose this topic is relevant and fits in well, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and New Zealand, two mutually important partners.

In the past 50 years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, and with consistent efforts by all walks of life on both sides, remarkable progress has been made in various areas of the China-New Zealand relations, generating significant tangible benefits for both countries, particularly both peoples, and contributing at the same time to world peace and development. Many firsts have been created along the way, making China-New Zealand relationship a leader in China’s relations with the western developed countries.

We have sought to deepen political trust between us through dialogues and consultations at various levels, which have continued despite COVID. Last November, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Ardern reached important consensus in their phone conversation. We are looking forward to the two leaders meeting again face-to-face soon to touch base on ushering in the next phase of our relationship. The two foreign ministers have met twice so far this year. And the two sides are working on an exchange of visits for them in the near future. On top of those, the heads of the two legislatures as well as our ministers of education, science and technology and defense have also met virtually or in person in the course of this year.  

We have built on the highly complementary structures of our economies with the stewardship of the two governments, the hard work of our business communities, and above all the support of the people in both countries. As a result, there have been exponential growth in China-NZ economic relations, particularly in trade, which have delivered high quality products and services and created enormous job opportunities for both peoples.

It is gratifying to see that the trade with China has played a crucial role in pulling the NZ economy through the tough times during Covid. Last year, bilateral trade in goods between China and NZ reached a record high of NZD 37.7 billion. In the twelve months through September, bilateral trade in goods reached NZD40.1 billion, maintaining a healthy momentum. With the full recovery of our economies from the pandemic, and the unlocking of the potentials from the RCEP and the upgrade of our bilateral FTA, we shall see even brighter prospects for our trade and economic cooperation.

At the people-to-people level, our two countries have long-standing, deep-rooted and broad people-to-people links that could be traced back to 180 years ago. In the space of citizen diplomacy, we indeed have a lot to celebrate, ranging from the invaluable legacy of Rewi Alley, a pioneer of contemporary-era friendship between the two peoples, to the bridge-building of the growing Chinese community in New Zealand, and to the multi-layered and multi-channeled exchanges and cooperation in various areas such as culture, education, tourism, sports, and science and technology. People-to-people exchanges have thus become one of the strongest of all pillars underpinning the continued growth of the relationship between China and NZ

Internationally, both China and NZ pride ourselves on independence in our foreign policy. Both countries believe in multilateralism and open regionalism. Both support the international system centered around the UN and the international order based on international law. Both are committed to safeguarding international and regional peace and stability and promoting common prosperity. Both support international cooperation to address global challenges like the climate change. And both are committed to promoting peace and stability in the South Pacific and support the Pacific Islands countries in their pursuit of sustainable development. All these constitute the basis for China and NZ to enhance cooperation and coordination on international and regional affairs.

In a word, through joint efforts over the years, China and New Zealand have accumulated sizable assets in our bilateral relations. In many ways, the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries is exemplary for countries different in social system, development stage and economic size.

The development of the China-NZ relationship has been undergirded by commitment on both sides to mutual respect, seeking commonalities while reserving differences, and win-win cooperation. Indeed, the two countries diverge and differ in many ways. However, the past fifty years of our relations demonstrate that if and when we respect the development path chosen for our respective selves, if and when we refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the other, if and when we deal with differences through constructive dialogues, we can as well transcend the differences there exist between us and work together to our great mutual benefit.   

Sub-national cooperation, including sister-city relationships remains a unique channel to promote mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between countries. It is also an important component part, and a powerful driver of the China-New Zealand relations. Such cooperation covers a wide spectrum of areas, from trade and economic cooperation, people-to-people links, to exchanges on urban development and governance, mirroring the depth and width of our expanding partnership. In this respect, I would like to acknowledge the important work done by Global Cities New Zealand (previously known as Sister Cities New Zealand).

On my visits to different cities and districts in NZ since my arrival nearly a year ago as ambassador, I have never failed to be inspired by the enthusiasm and expectations on the part of local councils for exchanges and cooperation with their Chinese counterparts, or to be moved by the broad based public support for China-New Zealand friendship. I am for that reason all the more confident about the prospects for the mutually beneficial cooperation for the common development and a brighter shared future of China and New Zealand going into the next 50 years of our relationship.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Not long ago, the Communist Party of China successfully held its 20th National Congress, which elected the new leadership of the Party with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core and laid out the blueprint for the China’s development in the next five years and beyond. The Congress reiterated that development remains the Party’s top priority in the drive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through Chinese-style modernization, which aims essentially to meet the aspirations of the people for progressively better lives.

On foreign policy, the Congress reaffirmed China’s commitment to promoting world peace and development and building a global community with a shared future. To this end, China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace, enhancing friendly cooperation with all countries in the world, and deepening and expanding global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation. Moreover, China remains committed to its fundamental national policy of opening to the outside world. An open and steadily growing China is a force for good and will bring new opportunities for common development and prosperity to the rest of the world, including NZ.   

The report as adopted by the Congress presents an authoritative, comprehensive and clear exposition on China’s future goals, strategic intention, and policies and measures in a transparent manner. I recommend that anyone interested in China’s development and in promoting friendly cooperation with China find time to read the report. It is not the easiest of reading but will be well worth the while.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China consistently sees New Zealand as an important comprehensive strategic partner and is full of expectations for and confidence in the future of the bilateral relations. For all the profound and sometimes drastic transformations in this world, China’s commitment to friendly cooperation with New Zealand has not and will not change.    

Looking ahead, China would like to work with New Zealand to implement the consensus reached by our leaders to give increasing substance to the comprehensive strategic partnership. We will adhere to the the principles of mutual respect, seeking commonalities while reserving differences, and win-win cooperation. We will comply with the wishes of our two peoples to grasp the opportunities and handle the differences properly so as to create more certainty for our cooperation and respective development in this increasingly uncertain world, to better serve the two peoples and contribute to world peace and development.  

In this connection, I hope and trust that the sister cities of our two countries will join hands and work even closer together in deepening friendship and cooperation for our brighter shared future.

In concluding, I wish the forum today a success.

Thank you!


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