New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English (L) meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Auckland, New Zealand, Feb 9, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
New Zealand is keen to make joint efforts with China to support free trade and boost globalization, the country's Prime Minister Bill English said on Thursday while meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
The prime minister spoke highly of President Xi Jinping's speech at the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, adding the speech delivered important and positive messages to the world.
He also vowed to launch upgraded negotiation of the bilateral free trade agreement and cooperate with China in sectors including infrastructure, humanities, tourism, education, science and technology, and judicial enforcement.
New Zealand boasts several No.1s in ties to China, including the first Western country to support China's joining the World Trade Organization and China's launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road Initiatives, English said.
The New Zealand leader also welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in his country.
The Chinese foreign minister said the China-New Zealand relationship is a model for cooperation between countries with different sizes and social systems.
Wang said China and New Zealand are both advocates and practitioners of free trade.
New Zealand is among the close partners from the West that meets the benefits of New Zealand and its people, Wang said.
Noting that the year 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations, Wang said that the two countries could boost high-level exchanges, consolidate mutual trust and implement the strategic partnership.
"Hand in hand, we should protect the international trade system, build the open economy and try to start the upgrade in negotiation of the free trade agreement," the Chinese foreign minister said.
He also expressed the wish that the two countries would join hands in connecting the Belt and Road Initiatives with New Zealand's infrastructure schemes.