On April 17 local time, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), met with leader of New Zealand's opposition Labor Party David Shearer in Wellington.
Jia said this year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations. Four decades ago, the older generation of leaders of the two countries, with extraordinary strategic vision and political courage, realized the establishment of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations, opening the door of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Today, under the joint efforts of the two governments and people from all walks of life, China-New Zealand relationship has made remarkable achievements with active high-level exchanges, deepened mutual political trust, fruitful cooperation in various fields, and good communication and coordination in international and regional affairs.
He said the Labor Party is an important political force in New Zealand, which always pursues a friendly policy toward China. The bilateral free trade agreement signed in 2008 when the Labor Party was in power made New Zealand the first developed country to conclude a free trade agreement with China. It was an important outcome of China-New Zealand cooperation, and played a great role in the two countries' economic development and their fight against the international financial crisis. The increasing bilateral trade under the circumstance of financial crisis showcased the reciprocity and broad prospect for the two sides' economic and trade cooperation, Jia said.
He noted party-to-party relationship is an important component of nations' relations. The Chinese side attached high importance to the friendly relationship with the Labor Party and was ready to maintain their friendly communication on the basis of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, he added. Jia called on the two sides to enhance exchanges and discussion on issues such as national governance and improvement of people's living conditions, so as to promote the friendly cooperation between the two countries.
Shearer extended warm welcome to the Chinese leader on behalf of the Labor Party. He said the Labor Party attached great importance to and cherished relations with China, and hailed the achievements the two countries scored when the party was in power, including the establishment of diplomatic ties and the signing of the free trade agreement. Both New Zealand's ruling and opposition parties are in favor of the development of New Zealand-China ties. The growing reciprocal cooperation and cultural exchanges also made the two peoples more intimate, he said. Shearer vowed that the Labor Party will inherit the fine tradition, continue to endeavor for cooperation with China and push forward the bilateral relations.
On the same day, accompanied by Māori Affairs Minister Sharples, Jia went to the National Museum for the inauguration ceremony of the two countries' exchange of exhibitions between national museums that marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties. The New Zealand side also prepared a welcoming ceremony full of Maori cultural characteristics for Jia.
In the evening, Jia met in the hotel where he stayed with the staff of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand and representatives from Chinese-funded institutions, overseas Chinese and Chinese students studying there.
Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General of the National Committee of the CPPCC Qian Yunlu and Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Xu Jianguo attended the above activities.