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New Zealand signs Belt and Road deal with China

Updated: Mar 27,2017 8:25 AM     Xinhua

WELLINGTON — New Zealand on March 27 became the first Western developed country to sign a cooperation agreement with China on the Belt and Road Initiative.

Visiting Premier Li Keqiang and his New Zealand counterpart, Bill English, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding, which adds to the long list of ground-breaking achievements the two countries have scored in bilateral cooperation.

China and New Zealand will explore the possibilities of bilateral cooperation in various fields to promote interconnectivity between the two countries, Premier Li told a joint news conference with English.

New Zealand was the first Western developed country to conclude bilateral negotiations on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, to recognize China’s full market-economy status, to sign and implement a bilateral free trade agreement with China, and to join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and was proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient land and maritime Silk Road trade routes.

Premier Li arrived in Wellington on March 26 for a four-day visit to the Oceanian country, the first by a Chinese premier in 11 years.

Ahead of the news conference, Premier Li held talks with English on bilateral ties and cooperation.

During his trip, Premier Li will also meet Governor-General Patsy Reddy and opposition Labor Party leader Andrew Little, and attend a series of business and culture exchange events.