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Chinese, New Zealand foreign ministers talk ties on phone

Updated: May 8,2017 8:57 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Foreign Minister Wang Yi held on May 8 a telephone conversation with his New Zealand counterpart Gerry Brownlee relations and cooperation between their two countries.

After congratulating Brownlee on his taking office recently as New Zealand’s foreign minister, Wang expressed appreciation for New Zealand’s taking a lead among developed countries in signing an agreement on cooperation in joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road).

Meanwhile, Wang voiced welcome to the participation of high-ranking New Zealand officials in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for May 14-15 in Beijing.

The Chinese minister also said China is willing to work with New Zealand to promote negotiations on upgrading the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries, and jointly safeguard the world free trade system.

During the telephone conversation, Brownlee said New Zealand attaches great importance to the development of relations with China, and expects achievement at an early date of success in negotiations on upgrading the FTA.

New Zealand is willing to work with China to strengthen coordination and cooperation in responding to various challenges, he said.

Brownlee also said his country appreciates the positive and constructive role China plays on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 with an aim of building trade and infrastructure networks to seek common development and prosperity. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are expected to connect countries in Asia, Africa and Europe along ancient trade routes.

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