On December 5, the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand held an unveiling ceremony of a bench dedication at Wellington Botanic Garden to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. Ambassador Wang Xiaolong and Tory Whanau, Mayor of Wellington, delivered remarks respectively and jointly unveiled the bench. More than 30 representatives from the Wellington City Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the New Zealand China Friendship Society, the Asia New Zealand Foundation, media, and local Chinese community attended the ceremony.
Before the starting of the event, all participants observed a minute of silence in memory of Mr Jiang Zemin, former General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the People's Republic of China.
In his speech, Ambassador Wang thanked all the guests for their presence, and the Wellington City Council for its long-standing commitment to promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and New Zealand, through, among other things, the sister-city partnerships with cities across China, and for its long-standing support for the local Chinese community and the Embassy. Ambassador Wang said that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and New Zealand, which is a major milestone in the bilateral relationship. Looking back on the past 50 years, in spite of differences in geography, history, culture, stage of development, and political system, relations between the two countries have grown in all areas on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit and common prosperity. With joint efforts, China and New Zealand have deepened mutual trust, broadened practical cooperation, and above all, strengthened the friendship and linkages between the two peoples, which constitutes one of the strongest pillars underpinning the long-term development of the relationship. Going forward, we have even more to look forward to, as both sides realize, as evidenced by the highly constructive face-to-face meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Ardern recently, that there is huge space and potential for our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to grow further to benefit both countries, particularly both peoples, in the next 50 years and beyond.
Mayor Whanau thanked the Chinese Embassy for donating the bench in her speech, saying that the Chinese Embassy was the first diplomatic mission in New Zealand to donate a bench to Wellington Botanic Garden. This event is of special significance, and the bench is a permanent reminder of the importance of the enduring relationship between the two countries. Mayor Whanau spoke highly of the long-term practical cooperation between Wellington and its sister cities in China, and said that she looked forward to forging the relationship with relevant cities in the key areas of climate change, arts, education, technology exchanges and economy in the future. Mayor Whanau also highly appreciated the local Chinese community for its great contributions to the economic and social construction and cultural diversity of Wellington.