AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his New Zealand counterpart Bill English on Tuesday here vowed to deepen the relations between the two countries for increased mutual benefits.
Li made the remarks at a welcoming luncheon organized by the political, business and academic circles of New Zealand.
Speaking to more than 500 people present, Li said China-New Zealand ties are experiencing a historic high and cooperation in various areas has reached unprecedented levels.
New Zealand has always been leading among developed countries in developing relations with China, and has created many "firsts," Li said.
New Zealand was among the first countries to acknowledge China's full market economy status, and it was the first developed country that concluded a bilateral free trade agreement with China, among others.
During this visit, the two countries signed a ground-breaking memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative, the first such document China has inked with a developed Western country.
The many "firsts" demonstrate that China-New Zealand relations are pioneering, special and exemplary, and have brought about real benefits to the two countries, Li said.
The friendship between China and New Zealand shows that all countries can definitely seek common ground while reserving differences, and become good friends and partners as long as they respect each other, treat each other as equals, and believe the development of the other side is an opportunity rather than a challenge, he said.
Economic globalization, represented by trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, is a major driving force for rapid world economic development, Li said.
The development processes of China and New Zealand show that only through opening-up and inclusiveness can a country prosper, he added.
China is willing to work together with New Zealand and other countries to build a community of shared future for all humankind and improve the global economic governance system so as to let more countries and people benefit from economic globalization, said Li.
To maintain the authority and effectiveness of the multilateral trade system, the premier urged the two countries to jointly promote the setup of open and transparent regional free trade arrangements, which will be conducive to regional and world peace, development and cooperation.
Stressing that China would continue to push forward its supply-side structural reform and steadfastly expand its opening-up, Li said China adopts an open attitude toward any free trade arrangement that promotes regional economic integration.
The Chinese premier also called on the two countries to deepen political mutual trust, work for synergy between the two countries' economic development strategies, expand and upgrade bilateral trade relations, and deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
For his part, English said that Premier Li's visit vigorously advances the development of China-New Zealand relations and pragmatic cooperation in various areas.
The booming Chinese economy provides major opportunities for New Zealand, and the two peoples both benefit from the development of bilateral relations, English said.
New Zealand is willing to continuously develop its special relations with China and make unremitting efforts for the future of the two countries and the peace, stability, development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, English said.
Before the welcoming luncheon, Li and English visited an exhibition marking the 120th anniversary of the birth of Rewi Alley, an old friend of the Chinese people.
Alley made important contributions to the Chinese people's fight against the fascist invasion, the economic development of the new China, and friendship between China and New Zealand.
This year also marks the 90th anniversary of his arrival in China and the 30th anniversary of his death.
When speaking to Patrick Alley, a nephew of Rewi Alley, after viewing pictures recalling Alley's 60 years of work and life in China, Li expressed the hope that the two countries would continue to carry forward Alley's spirit and continuously promote the friendship between the two countries.
Li, together with English, also met with members of the New Zealand China Council, thanked them for their important role in promoting exchanges and cooperation between China and New Zealand, and encouraged them to do more to that end.
The premier arrived in New Zealand on Sunday for a four-day visit to the Oceanian country, the first by a Chinese premier in 11 years.