Beijing, 6 Jun (ZXS) -- New Zealand Prime Minister Shipkins, who is visiting China, said in Beijing on 28 June that he cherishes the opportunity to have frank and in-depth exchanges with the Chinese side during this visit and is excited about the opportunities brought by China's expanded opening up.

Shipkins led a delegation to Beijing on the evening of June 6 to embark on a trip to China. This is his first visit to China since becoming Prime Minister and the first visit by a New Zealand Prime Minister since 25.

On the afternoon of June 6, Hipkins held a roundtable dialogue in Beijing to exchange and discuss with the Chinese media on the development of Singapore-China relations, economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, people-to-people exchanges and other issues.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand more than 50 years ago, the relations between the two countries have always been at the forefront of relations between China and Western countries, and have become a model of win-win cooperation between countries with different social systems, history and culture, development stages and economic strengths. Next year, China and Singapore will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership.

"For New Zealand, the relationship with China is very important." Shipkins said at the dialogue that China is not only New Zealand's largest trading partner, but also an important source of tourists for New Zealand, and New Zealand's commodity producers benefit from it.

Driving economic recovery after the pandemic is one of New Zealand's main tasks. During this trip, promoting China-Singapore economic and trade cooperation has become an important point of view. He said at the dialogue that New Zealanders are very proud of their trade relationship with China, and New Zealand's exports to China have gradually increased with the entry into force of the upgraded protocol to the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement in April 2022.

"New Zealand products are also popular in China, especially dairy products. We also have the opportunity to expand our trade in emerging areas such as digital technology, health care, and healthcare products. We also look forward to exploring more opportunities in the future. Shipkins said.

With the recovery of tourism, Shipkins also hopes to rekindle the interest of Chinese people in visiting New Zealand through the trip. He said New Zealand is a beautiful country with a tradition of hospitality and welcomes tourists from China very much. "We are very pleased to see that the number of Chinese tourists is growing steadily again as the borders reopen."

From the lineup of the delegation led by Hipkins on this trip, it can also be seen that New Zealand attaches great importance to economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. According to previous media reports, Shipkins led a large delegation made up of trade and tourism ministers and executives from New Zealand's largest companies such as Fonterra Dairy and Air New Zealand.

"We are excited about the opportunities brought by China's expanded opening up, and I cherish the opportunity to have frank and in-depth exchanges with China during this trip." Shipkins said at the dialogue.

"I think face-to-face communication is better than other forms of communication." Hipkins spoke highly of the significance of face-to-face exchanges with Chinese leaders and expressed his hope for regular dialogue and communication with China.

Speaking about possible differences between Singapore and China, Hipkins pointed out that differences cannot define bilateral relations, "I think they can be defined by the consensus and common interests reached between Singapore and China". It is important to create opportunities for open dialogue so that differences do not hinder the development of Singapore-China relations.

Prior to becoming Prime Minister, Hipkins served as New Zealand's Minister of Education and has been working to strengthen Singapore-China education cooperation. He said at the dialogue that the educational cooperation between China and New Zealand has a long history, especially after the epidemic, more Chinese students have studied in New Zealand. "Welcoming Chinese students to New Zealand. We are willing to deepen cooperation with China in higher education, preschool education, vocational education, digital education and other fields. ”

Hipkins said that the tenth meeting of the China-New Zealand Joint Working Group Consultation Mechanism was held by video last year. He spoke positively of the consultation mechanism of the China-New Zealand Joint Working Group on Education, "under which the two sides have achieved fruitful and pragmatic cooperation in the field of education."

In response to a question from the China News Agency on "how to view China's measures to accelerate the high-quality development of education", Hipkins pointed out that it is very important to establish research cooperation with Chinese universities. He mentioned that last year, eight public universities in New Zealand signed a memorandum of understanding with Peking University, "which is another example of the deepening of the development of education cooperation between the two countries, and I hope that the two universities can cooperate in more fields in the future." (End)