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China, New Zealand Upgrade Bilateral Relations
   2014-11-21 06:37:59    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Jiang

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Right) shakes hands with New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key in Wellington, New Zealand, November 20, 2014. Xi Jinping and John Key held talks in Wellington on Thursday. [Photo:Xinhua]

China and New Zealand have announced plans to take their relationship to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The announcement has been made following talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

As part of the talks in New Zealand, the two sides have also set a new goal of increasing bilateral trade to 30 billion New Zealand dollars, or around 23.5 billion US dollars, by 2020.

Xi Jinping is suggesting that target can be achieved through trade in traditional areas such as agriculture and animal husbandry.

"China, with a population of over 1.3 billion, has a huge market, while New Zealand's high-quality products like dairy, wool, mutton, beef and seafood are well-received in China. Meantime, more bilateral cooperation is needed in such areas as financial service, information technology, energy conservation, environmental protection and bio-medicine. These are the key areas for China's development in the future, while New Zealand enjoys competitiveness in those industries."

For his part, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says his country is looking for more Chinese investment.

"Investment from China into New Zealand has brought significant benefits to New Zealand. We saw earlier in the week the announcement of a Shanghai hotel to buy a New Zealand hotel in Queenstown. We've seen New Zealand's investment into China. Most recently obviously Fonterra announcing a very large investment in China. So investment will have benefit on both sides. I think we need to continue to work on channeling that investment into areas where there's mutual benefit of both countries."

Authorities in New Zealand are also moving to simplify the visa process for Chinese citizens.

The two leaders have also overseen the signing of a number of deals in areas including climate change, education, finance, tourism, food safety and the Antarctic.

As part of the official ceremonies, famous New Zealand rugby player Ma'a Nonu has presented the Chinese President a number eight jersey with his name on the back.

In accepting the gift, Xi Jinping has invited Ma'a Nonu to travel to China to help expand exchanges through sports.

New Zealand is the second leg of Xi Jinping's current three-nation tour, which will also take him to Fiji.

He began his current trip in Australia.

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