WELLINGTON, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi highlighted the bilateral relationship between the two countries as a "front runner" during her remarks delivered at the Chinese Lunar New Year reception held Tuesday in Wellington.
Wu said the relationship between China and New Zealand was successful in the past year. Leaders of the two countries reaffirmed their commitments to the comprehensive strategic partnership. The two countries concluded negotiations to upgrade the free trade agreement, explored opportunities for cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. The two-way trade exceeded 30 billion New zealand dollars (19.78 billion U.S. dollars). New Zealand companies secured big contracts at the 2nd China International Import Expo. And the success of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism" expanded bilateral tourism cooperations as well as people-to-people exchanges.
Wu noted that the year of Golden rat, according to Chinese lunar calendar, represents the pioneering spirit, intelligence and vigour as the rat is the first of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The two countries jointly created many historic "Firsts" in the bilateral relationship.
"Looking back, none of these firsts involved easy decisions. Yet, we've achieved them through wisdom, vision, courage and the pioneering spirit, to the benefit of both countries and peoples. I am confident by working together we will maintain our ties as a 'front-runner' in relations between China and developed countries," Wu added.
A couple of days ago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised the New Zealand-China relations as important, maturing and far-reaching when she attended 2020 Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day in Auckland, one of the most renowned Chinese New Year activities held by local Chinese community.
New Zealand members of Parliament, members of diplomatic corps, hundreds of Chinese locals attended the reception party.