10 Jun 2024, 11:15

China Premier Li to visit New Zealand 'this week': NZ PM

WELLINGTON, June 10, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit New Zealand this week, Prime Minister Chris Luxon said Monday.

Li will be the first Chinese premier to visit New Zealand since 2017, embarking on a diplomatic trip that is widely expected to also take him to Australia.

"I look forward to warmly welcoming Premier Li in New Zealand," Luxon said in a statement.

"The premier's visit is a valuable opportunity for exchanges on areas of cooperation between New Zealand and China."

Luxon said Li -- China's number two official -- would arrive to a ceremonial welcome and official dinner "later this week", before a series of bilateral meetings.

Li follows a string of high-powered Chinese delegates who have made the trip to New Zealand in recent months.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi held high-level talks during a visit to the capital Wellington earlier this year.

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, and Chinese consumers have long had an appetite for the country's meat, wine and milk.

Wellington has been one of Beijing's closest partners among Western democracies.

But relations have strained in recent years as China has looked to expand its military and diplomatic power across the Pacific.


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