Jane Patterson, Beijing, April 1, 2019
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just formally opened New Zealand’s new embassy in Beijing during her whirlwind visit to China.
Ms Ardern is in Beijing for just 24 hours, and will have meetings with the Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping later today.
Her planned week-long trip to the country was shortened following the March 15 Mosque massacres.
Speaking at a plaque unveiling at NZ’s embassy, Ms Ardern referred to the solidarity displayed by New Zealanders after the terror attack.
“We are a people who have not experienced that kind of violence in that kind of way on our shores before,” she said.
“That did not change the values that we hold as a nation… we are a country of multiple ethnicities, multiple religions and faiths, different creeds.
“We are open, inclusive… we welcome those who choose to come to our shores.”
Those values were held dear in embassies and commissions around the world including in China, Ms Ardern said.
“You have one of the most significant footprints that we have globally and I think that speaks to… the growing importance of our relationship with China.”
The economic links between the two countries was significant, she said.
“Our tourism numbers are growing, possibly set to overtake the number of Australians that come and visit New Zealand in the near future.”
The embassy was first established in the 1980s shortly after China and New Zealand developed diplomatic relations.
Embassy staff have been in temporary quarters till last June while the brand new building and residence were being built.
-Under A Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz