dragonthetiger|Rowing together towards a brighter future of China-New Zealand friendship and cooperation

Intro: WELLINGTON, June 16 (Xinhua) -- For the Chinese people, New Zealand is geographically distant, requiring an about 12-hour flight to rea...

WELLINGTON, June 16 (Xinhua) -- For the Chinese people, New Zealand is geographically distant, requiring an about 12-hour flight to reach. However, it feels close due to its daily presence in their lives through goods such as kiwifruit, milk powder, and seafood.

On Saturday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang concluded his three-day official visit to New Zealand. As changes unseen in a century are unfolding faster across the world, Li said China is ready to join hands with New Zealand to generate strong momentum for stability and development in the two countries, the region and beyond.

dragonthetiger|Rowing together towards a brighter future of China-New Zealand friendship and cooperation

Li illustrated this point with simple math. Justin Tipa, chairman of Ngai Tahu Holdings Group, which has been exporting lobsters to China for over 20 years, told Li during the premier's meeting with representatives from New Zealand's industrial and commercial circles that the group expects to export over 500 metric tons of live lobsters to China each year and is aiming for a long-term, robust trade relationship with China.

Li then told Tipa that with China's population of 1.4 billion, if just 1 percent of Chinese people eat one lobster every year, that would amount to 14 million lobsters. "I am just talking about 1 percent of the Chinese population. I hope you can continue to expand your market share in China," Li said.

He further illustrated the opportunities from China's development in his speech, emphasizing that China's pursuit of modernization through high-quality development and various upgrades will bring new opportunities.

Consumption upgrading will unleash new market demands, industrial upgrading will open up new areas of cooperation, and trade upgrading will create new space for growth, said Li.

John Cochrane, chairman of the New Zealand China Trade Association who was present at the meeting, told Xinhuadragonthetiger: "These upgrades all provide opportunities for New Zealand companies to increase their success."

"It is value upgrade in consumption, not just quantity of consumption. It is very appealing to New Zealand businesses. And the upgrading of industries, especially a focus on lightweight industries, digital, intelligent, and green, fits New Zealand very well considering our geographic distance from China," Cochrane said.

"The upgrade in trade, meaning newer business models in services and other forms, also gives New Zealand an opportunity to rethink the way we engage with China," he added.

For over one and a half centuries, China-New Zealand exchanges have continued to deepen, their cooperation has become closer, and mutual understanding has kept growing. As a key aspect of bilateral cooperation, educational cooperation between the two countries is conducive to enhancing mutual understanding and benefits both peoples.

At the closing ceremony of a forum on education development between China and New Zealand in Auckland, Li announced that China will provide New Zealand with 100 International Chinese Language Teachers Scholarships, 1,000 "Chinese Bridge" summer camp opportunities in China, and 5,000 Chinese books in the next five years.

Alex Zhang, executive member of the New Zealand China Trade Association and a long-time observer of China-New Zealand educational cooperation, told Xinhua that these measures demonstrate China's strong commitment to educational exchanges, which will greatly enhance New Zealand youth's understanding and learning of the Chinese language and culture.

"Simultaneously, it encourages more Chinese students to study and engage in exchanges in New Zealand, fostering deeper mutual understanding and friendship between the younger generations of both countries," said Zhang.

Kiwifruit also stands as a prime example of the deep-rooted cooperation between China and New Zealand.

Originating as the "Chinese gooseberry," this fruit was cultivated in China for nearly 1,500 years before being introduced to New Zealand over a century ago. Since then, it has flourished and been transformed into the globally renowned kiwifruit, becoming a cornerstone of New Zealand's fruit exports. Today, China stands as its largest market, highlighting the successful collaboration and mutual benefit between the two nations.

On Friday morning, Li visited the China-New Zealand Belt-and-Road Joint Laboratory on Kiwifruit in Auckland. He said that the laboratories in China and New Zealand complement each other's strengths and collaborate effectively. Through the empowerment of science and technology, the laboratories provide support for further improvement and upgrading of the kiwifruit industry in both countries, and add momentum to the development of the kiwifruit industry in the Belt and Road countries.

Another example of the mutually beneficial cooperation is New Zealand's dairy company Fonterra. Saying that himself was once a customer of Fonterra's products, Li encouraged the company to develop more products targeting the different requirements of consumers in China.

"Chinese people in different regions have different requirements and demand of different products. And I hope more people can be your consumers," he told Fonterra's CEO Miles Hurrell during the meeting with representatives from New Zealand's industrial and commercial circles.

There is vast potential for collaboration in areas such as green development for the two countries, and China welcomes Fonterra and other New Zealand enterprises to continue to seize such opportunities, Li said when visiting Fonterra's headquarters.

At a time of slowing growth, defensive trade measures, and domestic recession, China's economy will remain the engine that will drive the development of the Asia-Pacific region, Chris Lipscombe, national president of the New Zealand China Friendship Society, told Xinhua.

"And when the Asia-Pacific region is strong, the rest of the world also prospers," he added.

Before leaving Auckland, the "City of Sails," Li painted a vivid picture of collaboration and progress on the horizon. "Going forward, let us row together, and set sail towards a brighter future of China-New Zealand friendship and cooperation!"