New Zealand
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New Zealand PM says relationship with China "incredibly important"

BEIJING, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The relationship with China is incredibly important for New Zealand, visiting New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday, adding that both countries now enjoy a very constructive and positive relationship.

When responding to a question raised by Xinhua at a media event in Beijing, Hipkins said "the New Zealand-China relationship is an incredibly important one for New Zealand."

"Our relationship can be defined by the areas that we have an agreement in and the interests that we have in common, and there are many of those," he added.

Exiting the COVID-19 pandemic, it's a priority for New Zealand to re-establish economic activity with China, Hipkins said.

Hipkins said that while China is already New Zealand's largest trading partner, the country hopes to further expand bilateral trade.

"We are enthusiastic about the possibility of expanding the range of trade that we have with China. Not just the volume, but also the breadth of the trading relationship," he said.

Hipkins underscored education collaboration between the two countries, saying the bilateral education relationship is "very good" and New Zealand looks forward to boosting education cooperation, which "benefits both of our countries."

Hipkins said the freedom of movement between the two countries enables them to engage in high-level exchanges among the academic and research communities, which are very important to New Zealand.

Hipkins also voiced confidence that New Zealand will become a popular tourism destination for Chinese travelers.

"We offer one of the best tourist experiences in the world. We have a beautiful country, and we really enjoy sharing with people from around the world," Hipkins said, adding, "We are very excited to see the number of Chinese visitors coming to New Zealand steadily growing again."

Hipkins is on an official visit to China from June 25 to 30, during which he attended the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, in north China's port city of Tianjin.