On November 21 local time, people from all walks of life of New Zealand held a grand reception in Auckland to welcome President Xi Jinping's state visit to New Zealand.
When Xi Jinping and his wife Mme. Peng Liyuan arrived, they were greeted by Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand and his wife, and were welcomed by the Maori representatives in the traditional way. Under the guidance of some Maori warriors and Chinese dancing dragons, Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan stepped into the hall and received a standing ovation. The Maori youths expressed their delight and friendliness with songs.
Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the reception, extending greetings and wishes to the people from all walks of life of New Zealand who care and support the development of China-New Zealand relations. Xi Jinping pointed out that, though being geographically far apart, China and New Zealand have enjoyed a long history of friendly exchanges. As early as the mid-19th century, the first group of Chinese immigrants travelled across the ocean and came to New Zealand, and created the beautiful life together with the local people. Our friend Rewi Alley of New Zealand travelled a far distance to China in 1972 and devoted his whole life to the cause of China's national independence and construction. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship 42 years ago, China and New Zealand have joined hands in cooperation, displayed mutual understanding and trust, and forged ahead to become pioneers, jointly creating many "firsts" in China's relations with developed countries. Among developed countries, New Zealand was the first to recognize China's complete market economy, the first to launch negotiations on the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, and the first to sign and implement the bilateral FTA with China. Moreover, during my current visit, New Zealand has become the first country to sign an inter-governmental agreement with China on jointly producing TV programs.
Xi Jinping stressed that the development experience of China-New Zealand relations in the history have told us that in the relations between countries, vast oceans do not become barriers, cultural divergences do not form obstacles, and different social systems and development patterns do not create obstructions. As long as the two sides abide by mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, "when you present me with a papaya, I offer you fine jade in return", long-lasting friendship as well as mutual benefit and win-win outcome can be achieved. China-New Zealand relations are now at an important point of inheriting the past and forging ahead into the future. The two sides should take a far-sighted view and integrate closely the development strategies to build a community of common interests between China and New Zealand, advance with the times and push forward practical cooperation, learn from each other and consolidate the friendship between the two peoples, and work together through weal and woe to jointly build a harmonious region and a prosperous world.
Xi Jinping pointed out that, at present, the Chinese people are striving to achieve the "two centennial goals". China adheres to the path of peaceful development and firmly pursues the mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening-up. The better China develops, the more beneficial it will be to the world peace and development, and the broader space it will provide for China-New Zealand cooperation. Auckland is reputed as the "capital of sails". "Hundreds of boats compete, and those who endeavor to row win". The Chinese people with the spirit of unremitting self-improvement are willing to join hands with the bravely exploiting people of New Zealand to ride the wind and waves and create a brighter future for China-New Zealand relations.
On behalf of the government and people of New Zealand, John Key welcomed President Xi Jinping. He said that China is one of the most important cooperative partners of New Zealand. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship 42 years ago, the bilateral exchanges and cooperation have been enhanced increasingly and have scored remarkable achievements. President Xi Jinping is an old friend of the people of New Zealand. President Xi Jinping's visit has promoted the New Zealand-China relationship to a new level and opened up new prospect for the bilateral cooperation. Maoris say that "What is the most important in the world? The people." New Zealand hopes to look into the future and step forward hand in hand with China, so as to better benefit the two peoples with the New Zealand-China relationship.
Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others were present at the above activities.