State Councillor Liu Yandong will visit New Zealand next week as a guest of the New Zealand Government – the first visit by a senior Communist Party figure since China’s November leadership transition.
State Councillor Liu is a senior leader in China’s 2012-2017 hierarchy. Her portfolios include education, science, screen and television, and culture.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says he will sign a joint declaration with State Councillor Liu on science and technology in Wellington on 10 December.
“The joint declaration will underline the strong links New Zealand and China have in science and technology and the intention to boost co-operation between our two countries in this area,” Mr Joyce says.
“New Zealand places enormous value on the bilateral trade and economic relationship with China, our second largest trading partner. Since 2008 the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement has seen trade between our countries increase by more than 50 per cent and we want this growth to continue.”
State Councillor Liu will also sign an agreement with Education Minister Hekia Parata to grow co-operation in education between China and New Zealand. China is the largest source of international students to New Zealand.
The visit from 9-11 December takes place ahead of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China on 22 December.
During her visit, State Councillor Liu will meet Prime Minister John Key, call on Auckland Mayor Len Brown and visit Auckland University. She will also attend a dinner hosted by the New Zealand China Council.
In Wellington, State Councillor Liu will meet with New Zealand recipients of the Chinese Government Friendship Award, and with representatives of the New Zealand-based Chinese community, as well as attending an official dinner at Premier House.