China Premier Li backs 'dialogue, not confrontation' in New Zealand

China Premier Li backs 'dialogue, not confrontation' in New Zealand

Chinese Premier Li Qiang visits the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research on Friday in Auckland
Chinese Premier Li Qiang visits the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research on Friday in Auckland. Photo: Brett Phibbs / AFP
Source: AFP

Chinese Premier Li Qiang said Friday he supported "dialogue, not confrontation" during a visit to New Zealand where he stirred up hope of new trade avenues.

Li is on a six-day tour of New Zealand and Australia, the highest-ranking official to visit either nation since his predecessor in 2017.

China accounts for 30 percent of New Zealand's export earnings, according to World Bank data, but there are fears this could evaporate if the world's second-largest economy continues to slow.

The Chinese premier praised "historic" developments in relations between the two countries over the past decade during a speech before a gala dinner in Auckland hosted by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

"We both emphasised that countries should live in harmony, engage in dialogue, not confrontation, and have cooperation, not conflict," Li said.

Luxon, who has raised sensitive issues such as foreign interference and recent escalations in the South China Sea with Li, said the pair had reached a better understanding of their "respective priorities".

Read also

China Premier Li visits Auckland, stirring up hope of new trade

New Zealand, long seen as one of China's closest partners in the region, has become increasingly bold in its criticism of Beijing's expanding influence in the South Pacific.

Business remains a priority, however.

Li met some of New Zealand's biggest exporters and most influential companies during the visit, which wraps up Saturday when he flies to the South Australian capital Adelaide.

'Big on collaboration'

Mark Piper, chief executive of a top New Zealand government science institute, met the Chinese premier during a tour of an Auckland research facility earlier in the day.

"He was talking about more research collaborations and more people exchanges, which is what we're really interested in," Piper told AFP.

"He was really big on collaboration, the value that New Zealand can bring to China and that China can bring to New Zealand."

Read also

China waits anxiously for economic plan as gloom reigns

New Zealand was one of the first developed nations to sign a comprehensive free trade deal with Beijing.

Chinese consumers have a voracious appetite for New Zealand's premium meat, dairy and wine.

Li touted opportunities for trade, tourism and investment when he started his tour in New Zealand's capital Wellington on Thursday.

But he warned that emerging differences between the two nations "should not become a chasm that blocks exchanges and cooperation between us".

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.