Flying more than 10,000 kilometers across the Pacific, why did Premier Li specifically take time to visit Auckland in spite of the busy schedule?
Recalling an old friend
A New Zealander went to China in 1927 and spent 60 years there. He made important contributions to the Chinese people’s fight against the fascist invasion, the economic development of the new China, and friendship between China and New Zealand. The man was Rewi Alley. He was once met by China’s former leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.
Premier Li visited an exhibition marking the 120th anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley and viewed the pictures recalling Alley’s 60 years of work and life in China. While speaking to Patrick Alley, a nephew of Rewi Alley, Premier Li expressed the hope that the two countries would continue to carry forward Alley’s spirit and continuously promote the friendship between the two countries.
For those who have made contributions to China-New Zealand relationship, the Chinese people won’t forget. Premier Li’s visit, no doubt, will carry forward the relationship.
Making new friends
Premier Li also met members of the New Zealand China Council. The Premier thanked the council members for their important role in promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two nations, and encouraged them to make greater contributions to bilateral friendship.
While addressing a welcoming luncheon organized by the political, business and academic circles of New Zealand, Premier Li said there is no limit to China-New Zealand cooperation. Both countries should work together to bring more benefits to the people of both countries and send a positive message to the region and the world, said the Premier. These remarks won warm applause from more than 500 audience members.
The Premier had extensive contact with people from all walks of life during his tour in Auckland, laying a solid foundation of public support for the development of bilateral ties.
The relationship between China and New Zealand has been upgraded to a new level since the era of Rewi Alley, the spirit of New Zealand, who helped China during the war against the Japanese and made great contributions to the friendship between China and New Zealand between 1930s and 1940s.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English described the current relationship of the two countries as a “special relationship” at the welcome ceremony.
The Premier’s visit has further strengthened this “special relationship”. From the launch of negotiations on upgrading the FTZ to signing an agreement on the Belt and Road Initiative, China–New Zealand relations continued to set new records in China’s relations with Western developed countries.
On March 28, the Premier and his New Zealand counterpart, Bill English, visited the research center jointly started by Fisher & Paykel and Haier, two renowned home appliance manufacturers in NZ and China, a move to further promote bilateral innovative cooperation.
The Premier then urged both sides to make efforts to launch more quality products and innovative technologies.
The research center was established in 2014, combining advantages in frontier technologies from Haier Group and Fisher & Paykel.
“I hope the two countries can complement each other in production and technologies and produce more cutting edge products with advanced R&D,” said Premier Li in front of the newest R&D display board.