BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday called on China and New Zealand to sign the protocol to upgrade the free trade deal at an early date, speed up the consultation and signing of concrete plans for Belt and Road cooperation, and actively foster new growth points of cooperation in emerging areas.
Wang made the remarks during a phone conversation with New Zealand's new Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
Noting that New Zealand-China relations are one of the most important bilateral ties of New Zealand, Mahuta said the two countries' ties are becoming increasingly mature and stable, and have brought tangible benefits to their people.
New Zealand firmly adheres to the one-China policy, and the two countries respect each other, and have been supporting and helping each other in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, Mahuta said.
China takes the lead in realizing positive economic growth, which shows that China has made remarkable achievements in the anti-pandemic fight, she said.
New Zealand speaks highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal of achieving carbon neutrality and welcomes China's leading role in fighting climate change, Mahuta added.
She said New Zealand is willing to actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, strengthen cooperation with China in areas such as vaccine research and development, carry out tripartite cooperation in affairs of Pacific island countries, and promote the establishment of a rules-based multilateral trading system.
For his part, Wang congratulated Mahuta on taking office as foreign minister of New Zealand, saying China and New Zealand are important partners of cooperation to each other.
Wang said he appreciates Mahuta for the latter's remarks that regarded the task of building up the understanding of China as a top priority shortly after assuming the post.
For years, China and New Zealand have appreciated, respected, understood and trusted each other, Wang said, adding that the bilateral relations have maintained a good momentum of development and become a model of mutually beneficial cooperation between countries that are different in social systems, stages of development and economic sizes.
The exchanges between the two countries have created many "firsts" and played an important exemplary role, Wang added.
The two countries have concluded the negotiations on upgrading the free trade agreement, Wang said, noting it has created new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides.
China and New Zealand have offered each other invaluable supports in such fields as pandemic prevention and economic revitalization, and maintained sound coordination and cooperation in international affairs, which fully embodies the essence of China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership, Wang said.
Wang said China is ready to make joint efforts with New Zealand to implement the important consensus of the two countries' leaders and continue to uphold the spirit of "striving to be the first" and push for greater development of China-New Zealand relations in the new era.
The Chinese diplomat said he hopes New Zealand would, in line with the principles of market economy and the spirit of the China-New Zealand free trade agreement, provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises in New Zealand.
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China firmly safeguards the international system with the UN at its core, the international order based on international law, and the free trade system with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone, Wang said.
China has always insisted that all countries, big or small, are equal, and stands ready to work with the international community, including New Zealand, to strive to promote democratization of international relations and steer the reform and improvement of globalization in a more inclusive and win-win direction, he said.
China attaches importance to and supports New Zealand's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting in 2021, and is willing to join hands with New Zealand to promote the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement to come into effect as quickly as possible, Wang added.
China is glad to see that New Zealand plays a more important role in international and regional affairs, and is ready to work with New Zealand to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in climate change and affairs of Pacific island countries, he added. Enditem