New Zealand’s Ambassador to China Clare Fearnley accepts an interview with Xinhuanet in Beijing, capital of China, March 1, 2019. (Xinhuanet/Zhou Xin)
The changes that have taken place in China in the past 70 years are very significant, New Zealand’s Ambassador to China Clare Fearnley said.
The ambassador highly commended China’s achievements in poverty alleviation and other areas in a recent interview with Xinhuanet.
People have many more economic options, she noted, and different sorts of aspirations that would not have been imaginable in the mid 1980s when she had her first engagement with China are now possible for an increasing percentage of China’s population.
She held that the lifting of over 700 million people out of poverty over the last 40 years has had a huge impact on the region, the world as well as China itself.
The ambassador expressed her interest in the ongoing Two Sessions, as she said China’s prosperity, stability and well-being are of importance to all countries of the region, including New Zealand.
She pointed out that China and New Zealand have each identified poverty alleviation as one of the nations’ top domestic priorities to work toward.
“We look at China’s objectives around poverty alleviation and can see areas where we can share experience and work together,” Fearnley said.
The ambassador told Xinhuanet that the two countries have an extensive framework for cooperation in agriculture, which can address rural poverty, particularly in remote areas.
Trade between China and New Zealand has also grown, she added.
To further increase trade relations, New Zealand’s trade minister will be attending this year’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, according to the ambassador.
During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New Zealand in 2017, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative.
“The opportunity of the forum to gain a better understanding of the breadth and underpinning ideas behind the Belt and Road Initiative is valuable,” Fearnley said.
The issues New Zealand and China have been focusing on in the conversation have been around trade facilitation as well as environmental and social aspects of the initiative, she noted.
The trade minister may come with a business delegation; there will also be representatives from New Zealand’s academic community at events associated with the forum, signifying the breadth of the relationship between New Zealand and China, on the economic side and more, she said.
She said last year’s China International Import Expo (CIIE), in which New Zealand was an active participant, demonstrated China’s welcome for foreign imports.
New Zealand is keen to work with China and share its experience to improve the business environment, she said.
The people-to-people links between New Zealand and China underscore how rich the bilateral relationship is, she stressed, citing the increasing number of students studying in each other’s schools and the widely celebrated Chinese Language Week in New Zealand as examples.
The ambassador also mentioned that many major towns and cities in New Zealand have sister city relationships with Chinese counterparts.
The bilateral tie of the two nations is “multifaceted and continues to grow in its complexity,” she said.
The ambassador shared her knowledge on a number of cooperation projects in the fields of scientific research and development as well as film industry between China and New Zealand.
“There are lots of areas where we can work together, some traditional, some new, modern and less traditional,” she concluded.