Remarks by HE Ambassador Wang Xiaolong at the 81st Annual Conference of New Zealand Chinese Association

2024-06-25 12:39

Dear Ms. Jenny Too, 

Members of NZCA,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon! 


It gives me great pleasure to attend the 81st Annual Conference of the New Zealand Chinese Association (NZCA). To begin with, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations on the convening of this annual conference. I also acknowledge the New Zealand Chinese Association for its longstanding assistance to the Chinese community in their work and life in New Zealand, and for its steadfast support of China-New Zealand friendship. I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the central and local governments of New Zealand for their ongoing care and support of the Chinese community.

Last week, Premier Li Qiang paid a successful official visit to New Zealand, yielding fruitful outcomes. This visit holds significant importance for the development of our bilateral relations: it coincides with the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping's state visit to New Zealand and the establishment of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. It is also the first visit by a Chinese Premier to New Zealand in seven years and marks the first meeting between the leaders of our two countries since the coalition government took office. I know many of you followed this visit closely with great interest, and I would like to share some of my observations with you.

First, this visit underscored the robust momentum and bright future of the China-New Zealand Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. As Premier Li Qiang remarked, over the past 52 years of diplomatic ties, China-New Zealand relations have been a leader in China’s engagement with the broader developed world, setting quite a number of records along the way. In the past decade, our relations have made historic progress, with cooperation expanding to unprecedented breadth and depth across various fields. 

High-level exchanges between our nations have maintained positive momentum. This year alone, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, along with Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC Liu Jianchao, have paid successful visits to New Zealand. Going in the other direction, New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Agriculture, Todd McClay, successfully visited China. 

Premier Li’s official visit has elevated this positive atmosphere and momentum to new heights. These frequent and friendly high-level exchanges highlight the importance both sides place on this relationship, its mutually beneficial nature, and our shared commitment to its healthy and sound development for the practical benefit of our peoples. During the visit, the two prime ministers acknowledged the satisfactory progress of China-New Zealand relations, which owes much to the support and contributions of our peoples, including the Chinese community in New Zealand and all of you here today.

My second observation is that the visit's agenda was rich and vibrant, yielding abundant outcomes. During the visit, Premier Li Qiang met with Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, attended the welcoming ceremony hosted by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, and held talks with the Prime Minister. The two leaders visited businesses and institutions involved in China-New Zealand trade cooperation, interacted with representatives from the New Zealand business community, and attended both an education development forum and a welcoming gala dinner.

The two Prime Ministers jointly witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents in fields such as services trade, business environment, agricultural and food exports to China, science and technology, patent examination, and migratory bird protection. They also held a joint press conference. Additionally, the two sides issued a joint statement of outcomes, highlighting the importance both attach to the bilateral relations, and outlining the experiences that have fueled the healthy development of these relations. They agreed to deepen exchanges and cooperation across various fields to better benefit both countries and our peoples, contributing positively to regional and global peace, stability, and prosperity.

Through this visit, the two Prime Ministers deepened their mutual understanding and reached broad consensus on a range of issues, starting a close friendship. We have reason to believe that China-New Zealand relations will enjoy a promising and brighter future.

Third, strong and close people-to-people links have always been a vital pillar and driving force of our relationship. At the Welcoming Gala Dinner, Premier Li Qiang highlighted the nearly 160-year history of friendly exchanges between our two countries, dating back to the 1860s when the first group of Chinese people arrived in Otago. For over a century and a half, our interactions have deepened, our cooperation has grown closer, and our friendship and mutual understanding have flourished.

Despite the distance and differences in our national conditions, China and New Zealand share many commonalities: we both respect Mother Nature, embrace cultural diversity, pursue innovation and creativity, and stand for world peace. These shared values have forged a natural bond of affinity and empathy between us. Throughout the history of our bilateral interactions, the Chinese community in New Zealand, with their courage, wisdom, and diligence, have made significant contributions to local economic and social development and have served as natural bridges fostering bilateral friendship. I recognize that for nearly 90 years, the NZCA has been dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and language and assisting the Chinese diaspora in integrating with and contributing to the local community. During the visit, the two Prime Ministers acknowledged the crucial role of people-to-people exchanges and welcomed steps to further facilitate them, including China’s announcement of a unilateral visa exemption policy for New Zealand citizens. 

Last but not least, I was deeply moved by the love for the motherland and the sincere wishes for bilateral friendship expressed by the Chinese community here. During Premier Li’s visit, welcoming groups and vibrant banners, the national flags of both countries, and the enthusiastic faces of Chinese community members and students were omnipresent. These groups, including senior members of the community and children, sincerely welcomed the Premier and his delegation, braving wind and even rain. Premier Li was deeply touched by their warmth and asked me over and over again to convey his appreciation.

This deeply resonates with me that no matter where we are, no matter how long or how far we are away from the motherland, our unwavering love for our roots and heritage and support for friendship between China and New Zealand will forever unite us. Here, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone, and through you, to all members of Chinese community in New Zealand. Thank you!

Taking this opportunity, I would like to briefly introduce the latest developments in China. As the world's second-largest economy, China maintains high-level stable growth, contributing over 30% on average to global economic growth for many consecutive years, serving as a crucial engine for world economic development. Since the beginning of this year, the economy has continued to consolidate its recovery and improvement, with GDP growing by 5.3% year-on-year in the first quarter. For an economy of 30 trillion New Zealand dollars, each percentage point of growth today is equivalent to 2.1 percentage points ten years ago. 

Particularly promising is the momentum in high-tech manufacturing and emerging industries, accelerating the formation of New Quality Productive Forces in practice. The development of China's economy presents opportunities for countries worldwide, including New Zealand.

Looking forward, China and New Zealand will not only strengthen cooperation in traditional areas but also continue to explore cooperation potential in emerging fields such as new energy and digital economy, creating more mutually beneficial points of convergence and new growth areas for the economy. This will benefit more people from both countries and contribute to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

I believe that as ambassadors of China-New Zealand friendship, everyone here will contribute to further promoting practical cooperation between the two countries and mutual understanding among the people. The Embassy will continue to work closely with the central and local governments of New Zealand, as well as organizations including NZCA, to support the development of the Chinese community in New Zealand. 

Lastly, I wish all members of Chinese community in New Zealand success in your careers and happiness in your lives! I also extend my best wishes for the continued development of NZCA!

Thank you!