New Zealand Looking to Grow Cooperation during Chinese FM's Visit

New Zealand will be looking to discuss expanding cooperation with China during a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sept. 4 and 5, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced Tuesday.

"China is an important partner for New Zealand, and the visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi is an opportunity to expand our cooperation regionally and internationally," McCully said in a statement.

"Our trade with China continues to grow. New Zealand's annual merchandise exports to China are now over 11.5 billion NZ dollars (9.6 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 3.5 billion NZ dollars (2.92 billion U.S. dollars) in the past 12 months," said McCully.

"China is also an active development player in the Pacific region. China, New Zealand and the Cook Islands are working together on a major water infrastructure program in Rarotonga and we want to cooperate more closely with China on Pacific development."

The meeting of the two foreign ministers would cover a range of topics, including the increasing frequency of high-level bilateral visits, New Zealand's expanding diplomatic presence in China, their regular human rights dialogue and cooperation in the Asia- Pacific region.

They would also discuss New Zealand's candidacy for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2015-2016.

Last month, the New Zealand government appointed its first-ever Consul-General for Western China, charged with helping the two countries to meet their target of 30 billion NZ dollars (25.05 billion U.S. dollars) in trade by 2020.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said he had appointed diplomat Alistair Crozier to open the new consulate in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, where he would provide support for New Zealand companies looking to expand beyond the coastal cities of China.

The expanding diplomatic presence also included additional staff deployed to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Source: Xinhua