1 Apr 2019

New Zealand and China must 'trust each other' - Xi Jinping

10:52 pm on 1 April 2019

China's President Xi Jinping has given New Zealand's Prime Minister a warm welcome in Beijing, acknowledging Jacinda Ardern's presence so soon after the Christchurch shootings.

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Photo: Supplied / MFAT

But in a pointed comment he also said the two countries have to "trust each other" if there are to be future opportunities for development.

President Xi said as prime minister, Ms Ardern had on many occasions expressed a commitment to China New Zealand relations.

"You come to visit us when there are unusual circumstances and urgent tasks at home; your presence here fully reflects the importance placed by yourself and your government on China New Zealand relations".

Ms Ardern's planned week-long trip to the country was shortened following the 15 March mosque terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

Her visit, he said, proved that "special commitment", and he expressed his "deep sympathy" for the Christchurch shootings.

China viewed New Zealand as a "sincere friend and co-operation partner", President Xi told Ms Ardern.

The two countries had made "historic strides" in their 47 year long diplomatic relationship and New Zealand had become "one of the closest between China and western, developed countries", including being the first of those countries to sign a free trade deal.

But for any new opportunities, he said, the two sides "must trust each other, pursue mutual benefit and strive to open up new grounds" in the bi-lateral relationship.