The file photo taken on Dec. 10, 2015 shows a China Southern Airlines passenger aircraft at Auckland Airport, New Zealand. (Xinhua/Tian Ye)
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The cooperation between New Zealand's largest city Auckland and China has made great achievements and boasted great prospects under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, said Chinese Consul General in Auckland Xu Erwen.
New Zealand is the first western developed country to participate in the initiative.
"This creates opportunities for the two countries to open new growth momentums and explore new development path," Xu told Xinhua.
As the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland has one third of the national population and is an important trade, cultural, education, and technological center.
Xu said Auckland is an aviation hub heading to south Pacific island countries and major cities in South and North America. It connects China and New Zealand across the Pacific Ocean.
As an economic growth engine in New Zealand, Auckland maintained practical cooperation with many Chinese provinces and cities under the B&R framework, she said.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand grew rapidly in recent years, and most of them entered the country via Auckland.
The number of flights between Auckland and major Chinese cities increases rapidly, with 150 direct flights per week in peak seasons, which boosts bilateral cooperation, brings more benefits to two peoples, and enables more quality kiwi products to enter the Chinese market.
Chinese culture has received increasing popularity among New Zealand people, with frequent cultural exchanges between the two sides, Xu said, adding that New Zealand's second Chinese Culture Center will soon be established in Auckland, offering a newplatform for bilateral cooperation.
Financial cooperation deepens between Auckland and China, she said, adding that major Chinese banks have established branches in Auckland, which will support trade and investment cooperation between the two countries and will also provide financial support for Auckland's infrastructure, energy, and commercial programs.
Chinese enterprises have expressed enthusiasm in participating in Auckland's infrastructure projects, Xu said, stressing that the cooperation between the enterprises of the two countries will fundamentally improve Auckland's infrastructure of hotel, railways, roads, ports and wharfs, which will boost the sustainable development of local tourism.
Xu said the capital and technology brought by the Chinese enterprises will join hands with Auckland's advanced management experience, technological innovation and research and development to form a great innovation capability for economic growth. Enterprises of both sides have been establishing long-term, stable partnerships in the agricultural and husbandry area.
Xu said the Belt and Road Initiative contains huge opportunities for the two countries and will benefit people in all South Pacific countries.