8 April, 2013
PM meets Chinese President Xi Jinping
Prime Minister John Key says he and new Chinese President Xi Jinping have committed to strengthening the political and trade relationship between New Zealand and China, following bilateral talks at the Boao Forum in China yesterday.
It was Mr Key’s first formal bilateral meeting with the new President since Xi Jinping was officially elected to the role last month, and Mr Key is one of the first world leaders to meet the new President. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully was also at the meeting.
Mr Key has met President Xi before, when he visited New Zealand as Vice-President in 2010, and on a previous visit to China.
“It was great to meet with President Xi again and reaffirm the strong relationship between our two countries,” says Mr Key.
China is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, the second largest source of tourists, and the largest source of international students coming to New Zealand to study.
At the meeting, Mr Key and President Xi discussed a wide range of topics and reconfirmed the target of doubling two-way goods trade between China and New Zealand by 2015.
Mr Key and then Premier Wen Jiabao set the target of doubling two-way goods trade to NZ$20 billion by 2015 when Mr Key visited China in 2010.
“Businesses are on track to achieve this, and my meeting with President Xi provided an opportunity to reconfirm that target,” says Mr Key.
“In 2012, total two-way trade totalled NZ$14.6 billion. New Zealand has traded more with China over the past five years than the combined value of all our previous trade with China.
“We were also pleased to inform President Xi that New Zealand will be upgrading its diplomatic presence in China to reflect the increasing importance of our relationship,” says Mr Key.
“New Zealand will open a new Consulate-General in western China.
“From later this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will also take over leadership of the Consulate-General in Guangzhou, capital of the southern province of Guangdong. Additional Education New Zealand staff will be added in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
Guangdong is China’s most populous province and is one of the biggest Chinese markets for students and tourists. It is estimated to receive about a third of New Zealand’s exports to China.
“These decisions reflect the range and growth of New Zealand political, trade, tourism and education interests in China and will support their further development,” says Mr Key.
Mr Key and Xi Jinping also discussed New Zealand’s proposal to establish a marine protected area in the Ross Sea, Pacific and East Asia security, and other regional and international issues.