Rt. Hon. Chairman Don McKinnon,
Hon. Ben King, Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Executive Director Stephen Jacobi,
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore,
Respected board members of New Zealand China Council,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I would like to thank New Zealand China Council for inviting me and my colleagues to this special event giving me the chance to meet so many friends, old and new. And I would also like to express my appreciation to the Council and Council members for your long-time strenuous efforts to promote China–New Zealand relations and the constructive contribution made in the report launched today to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) construction between our two countries.
Today I want to take this opportunity to share with you the following three points:
First, there are great opportunities in BRI cooperation between China and New Zealand. What is BRI? In short, it is a road of five connectivities which are policy coordination, trade facilitation, financial integration, connectivity of facilities and people to people exchanges, it is a road to tap the comparative economic advantages of the countries along the belt and road and a road to build up an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared development. The report launched today has focused on the main contents of the above-mentioned connectivities and cooperation, such as trade facilitations, gate way to South America, creative sector and innovations. These four areas are the comparative advantages of New Zealand and the areas of co-operations that my consulate and our New Zealand friends have been pushing for over the past years. The potential of cooperation in these areas is huge.
Even in area of infrastructure, I believe there is important opportunity as well. Recently I have been to some cities of my consulate district and met many local government officials and leaders of different walks of life. They are very enthusiastic about the opportunities in strengthening the cooperation with China in all areas including infrastructure.
New Zealand is the very first western country to sign cooperation agreement with China, and we cherish this pioneering policy of New Zealand. New Zealand is also the natural extension of the 21st Maritime Silk Road. Many early harvest has been achieved in the cooperation between China and New Zealand under BRI, such as fast growing aviation connectivity, expansion of investment and trade, financial integration, cooperation on supply chain connectivity and innovative sectors, and boom of Chinese tourists and students coming to New Zealand. Our two economics are highly complementary with each other. China's new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, openness, greenness and shared development is very much in line with that of New Zealand.
Secondly, the BRI is a very important part of China's new round of reform and opening up. Last month at Boao Asia Forum Annual Conference, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech which fully reviewed the great achievements made by China over the past 40 years of opening up and declared to the world that "China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider!" He also announced a series of major measures of opening up including significantly broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and taking the initiative to expand imports. Along with the implementation of this new round opening-up, the BRI has become an important channel and platform to implement the above-mentioned measures. I want to stress here again that the BRI is open, inclusive and market-oriented economic initiative with no geopolitical calculations. President Xi said that the BRI may be China's idea, but its opportunities and outcomes are going to benefit the world.
Thirdly, the BRI initiative has maintained very good momentum of development and been warmly received by the international community since it was proposed by President Xi five years ago. It has got support of more than 100 countries and more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China involving in this initiative. Currently, China's investment in countries along the Belt and Road has reached US$60 billion. 75 economic and trade cooperation zones have been set up along the routes, and more than 200 thousand jobs were created locally. The BRI has become an important global public product, and has been written into important resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. Successful stories of BRI cooperation came out not only from developing countries but also from Britain, France and Greece in nuclear power plants and ports as well.
I am confident BRI is bound to succeed because it goes with the trend of the world and it conforms to the principle of free trade, win-win cooperation and pushing the economic globalization in a way that benefits the world contrary to protectionism and unilateralism. China has great determination to implement it and has written BRI into CPC party constitution. Currently, China is preparing the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next year after the successful forum held last year.
I know the council plans to go to other cities of New Zealand to promote this report. It is my sincere hope that you will inform our kiwi friends of the great opportunities the BRI brings to New Zealand and New Zealand China cooperation, so that more and more people will get to know comprehensive picture of this great initiative. New Zealand is a creative and innovative country as you have created a lot of firsts among western countries in developing relations with China. New Zealand is the first western country to sign the BRI cooperation agreement with China. It is also my hope that New Zealand will take more pioneering initiatives and play a leading role in implementing the cooperation agreement of BRI and will grasp the opportunities brought by the fast growing China New Zealand relations, China's new round of opening up and the joint construction of the Belt and Road, continue to expand its practical cooperation with China which brings more benefits not only to both two countries and two peoples, but also to the people of the world.