China foreign minister willing to strengthen communications with New Zealand

By Thomson Reuters Mar 17, 2024 | 11:04 PM

By Lucy Craymer and Stella Qiu

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – China says it wants to strengthen communications with New Zealand and work to maintain peace and stability in the region as the foreign ministers of the two countries met on Monday.

The meeting between Wang Yi and Winston Peters is their first in person since New Zealand elected a conservative government in October 2023. They have previously spoken by phone.

Before the meeting, Wang said in Chinese that China was willing to strengthen strategic communication with New Zealand on international and regional issues in the face of a chaotic and intertwined international situation.

“We will work together to maintain peace and stability in the region and the world,” Wang said.

New Zealand has long been seen as a moderate or even absent voice on China in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the United States and allies, but in recent years has increasingly spoken up publicly when concerned about China’s actions.

Wang said the relationship between New Zealand and China continues to have “healthy momentum.”

China is New Zealand’s top trading partner. New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported two-way goods and services trade totalled NZ$38.67 billion ($23.55 billion) in the year ended September 2023.

Peters said the meeting would build on the foundation of previous engagement.

“Today is a valuable opportunity to reflect on challenges and opportunities that are now before us,” he said.

Wang is also due to meet with New Zealand’s prime minister, Christopher Luxon. He flies to Australia on Tuesday to meet with his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, and hold a roundtable with business leaders in Canberra on Wednesday.


(Reporting by Lucy Craymer: Editing by Neil Fullick)