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Premier Li’s Oceania visits include several firsts

Updated: Mar 22,2017 5:01 PM

On March 22, Premier Li started his official visits to Australia and New Zealand. The visits will witness several firsts.

First visit by Chinese Premier in 11 years

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Australia and China-New Zealand diplomatic relations. The visits are also the first by a Chinese Premier in 11 years.

It is of great significance to consolidate relations with Australia and New Zealand, as both countries are an important part of China’s neighboring diplomacy, and cooperation with them will not only help maintain stable neighboring diplomatic relations but also promote regional integration and peaceful development in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Wang Zhenyu, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

China-Australia and China-New Zealand relations witnessed sound development in recent years. New Zealand, in particular, is a frontrunner among developed countries to develop relations with China.

Premier Li’s first trip after two sessions

Only a week after the two sessions, Premier Li began his visits abroad with confidence in China’s economic growth and promising roadmap of China’s development.

He will promote aligning China’s Belt and Road Initiative with development strategies of Australia and New Zealand, and introduce China’s economic momentum to the international community.

China’s economy is highly complementary to the economies of Australia and New Zealand. In addition, their development strategies fit well together, according to Liu Qing, an Asia-Pacific researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

Currently, Australia is implementing a plan to develop its northern part, and New Zealand has published its 30-year plan to construct basic infrastructure.

The Premier’s visit will promote the coordination of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the two countries’ development plans and laying the foundation for development of China and Oceania.

Premier Li’s first visit to Oceania

This is the first time that Premier Li will visit Oceania since he took office, which expects China’s action against the backdrop of pushback against globalization, rising protectionism and US’ dropping out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

At such a critical moment of globalization, Premier Li’s visit will send a positive signal to the world, indicating that China will make joint efforts with Australia and New Zealand to fight protectionism and promote regional integration and economic globalization, according to Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies.

Both Australia and New Zealand enjoy trade surplus against China, which shows China’s commitment to opening-up and free trade.

“China is never deliberately after a trade surplus. We have relatively large deficits of trade and investment with developed countries,” Premier Li told foreign representatives at the China Development Forum on March 20.

The southern hemisphere is in its harvest season now, and it will also be a harvest trip for Premier Li in his first visits abroad this year.