Chinese Premier Visits Australia and New Zealand

China Eyes New Impetus in Ties With Australia, New Zealand

(Xinhua News Agency, March 21, 2017. Complete text:) Beijing - China hopes for new impetus for trade and investment cooperation and regional prosperity through the upcoming visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Australia and New Zealand.

This visit will send a positive signal to the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world that the three countries are committed to trade and investment liberalization and regional peace, stability and prosperity, said Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang at a press briefing here on Tuesday [March 21].

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Australia and China-New Zealand relations. The official visit, scheduled from March 22 to 29, is the first by a Chinese premier since China upgraded its relations with the two to comprehensive strategic partnership.

"Australia is implementing a northern development plan while New Zealand has a 30-year infrastructure development plan. The premier’s visit will promote coordination of China’s Belt and Road initiative with the other plans," said Liu Qing, a researcher on Asia-Pacific studies with the China Institute of International Studies.

During Li’s stay in Australia, he will meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and hold the fifth annual talks with his Australian counterpart. The two prime ministers will also attend a trade cooperation forum together.

Li will also meet Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and parliamentary leaders.

The two sides will discuss the China-Australia free trade agreement, and cooperation in areas including technology, trade and investment, energy and resources, the judiciary and law enforcement, according to Zheng.

China has been Australia’s largest trading partner in the past eight years. The two countries have witnessed booming bilateral trade since the FTA took effect in December 2015. Since full implementation last year, bilateral trade has reached $108 billion and bilateral investment was over $100 billion, Zheng said.

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