Wellington, March 19, 2017
Prime Minister Bill English announced today that he and Premier Li Keqiang of China will hold official talks in Wellington, and that he and the Premier will also meet business leaders in Auckland during his visit from March 26 to March 29, 2017.
“The visit is an important opportunity to set the agenda for the next stage of our strong relationship and demonstrates our shared commitment to open trade and economic growth,” Mr English said.
45 years of diplomacy
Premier Li’s visit marks the 45th year of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, and comes three years after China and New Zealand declared a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during a visit to New Zealand by President Xi Jinping.
Li Keqiang previously visited New Zealand in 2009 as Vice Premier, at the invitation of Mr English in his then-capacity as Deputy Prime Minister.
“Premier Li knows New Zealand well, and I look forward to discussing with him opportunities for our two countries and the region.”
The Premier will be accompanied by his wife, Professor Cheng Hong, as well as a large official and business delegation.
China is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner. Two-way trade reached a new all-time high of NZ$23 billion in 2016.
More than 400,000 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand last year, spending over $1.6 billion. In addition, nearly 35,000 Chinese students are studying in New Zealand.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang with Bill English in Wellington on November 2, 2009 (Picture Courtesy: Xinhua/Liu Jiansheng)