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Remarks by HE Ambassador Wu Xi at the New Zealand China Council Reception

Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon

Hon Deputy Secretary Ben King

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am truly delighted to join you all on this beautiful summer day here at Te Papa for the annual NZ China Council reception. As you may know, tomorrow is the Lantern Festival in China which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration. So by the spirit of the festival, let me extend my warm New Year greetings to all of you for a happy, healthy and prosperous year of the Pig!

Along with many of you in the room, I was honored to attend the Gala Dinner hosted by the Council in August last year and I want to take this opportunity to thank Sir Don and the New Zealand China Council again for the great hospitality accorded to me in that memorable event.

Ever since its founding in 2012, the New Zealand China Council has been playing an irreplaceable role in promoting understanding and friendship between our two countries. Last May, the Council issued the Belt and Road Initiative report, which is well received by the government, the public and private sector in both countries. I would like to thank all Council members for the valuable support and contributions to China New Zealand relations.

As many of you have witnessed in the past decades, enormous strides have been made in China New Zealand relations. We have seen continued strengthening of trade, investment and people-to-people links. We have enjoyed an impressive and proud list of 'firsts' in China's relations with developed countries. All of these demonstrate the underlying significance and the far-reaching implications of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and New Zealand.

Over the past decade, the international political and economic landscape has been going through profound and complex changes. The backlash against globalization, emerging isolationism and resurgent protectionism all pose challenges to the existing international order and system. As the international and regional situation keeps evolving, both China and New Zealand face identical or similar new problems and challenges.

When navigating our bilateral relations in this trying times, we should always have a vision of the journey ahead and have a clear sense of direction. We need to always bear in mind that the defining feature of our relationship is mutual benefit and win-win outcome, our friendship and cooperation has great potential and vitality.

China's development will provide even more opportunities for New Zealand and create broader space for our bilateral cooperation. We need to foster new prospects for our shared interests and work for substantive progress in our cooperations, in order to deliver more benefits to the people of our two countries.

Over the past few weeks, there has been public debate on the direction of China-New Zealand relations. Many of our New Zealand friends shared both their concerns and constructive suggestions about this relationship. When sailing through uncharted waters, it is vitally important to firmly hold the rudder, carefully steering through the rocks. As two countries different in history, culture and social system, it is only natural for us to have differences. We need to properly handle these differences and build a more resilient bilateral relationship.

As we forge ahead, we will continue to count on the vision and wisdom of our friends here. I hope and I am convinced that the Council will continue to play an important role and make greater contributions to the advancement of China-New Zealand relations.

Thank you!

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