Chinese Premier to visit New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia in boost for cooperation
Published: Jun 11, 2024 09:23 PM
China New Zealand Photo:VCG

China New Zealand Photo:VCG

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia starting on Thursday, and he will hold meetings with officials from the three countries, exchange views on bilateral and global issues, and deepen cooperation, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. 

The week-long trip is expected to strengthen communication and boost economic and trade cooperation with the three countries, as well as help inject fresh momentum into regional cooperation, amid certain countries' attempt to stir up tension in the region, Chinese experts noted. 

Li will pay official visits to New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia from June 13 to 20, Lin Jian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, announced. During the visit to Australia, the Chinese Premier will co-chair the ninth China-Australia Annual Leaders' Meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, according to the spokesperson. 

In New Zealand, Li will meet with the country's leaders, including Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, to exchange views on bilateral ties as well as regional and global issues of mutual concern. Through the trip, China hopes to strengthen communication, boost mutual trust and deepen cooperation, Lin said, noting the stable and sound development of bilateral relations. 

In Australia, in addition to the leaders' meeting, Li will hold extensive interactions with people from all walks of life. The Chinese Premier will also attend a CEO roundtable. China hopes to seize the opportunity of the trip to strengthen mutual understanding and trust and deepen practical cooperation, so as to build a more stable, sound and fruitful bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. 

Lin also said that China-Malaysia ties have maintained good development momentum, mutual trust has continuously deepened and fruitful results have been achieved in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. The visit will further deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, the spokesperson said. 

The Chinese Premier's trip is of great significance in boosting communication and economic and trade cooperation with the three countries, which are all major trading partners under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the biggest trade pact among Asia-Pacific countries, experts said. 

"I think this visit is very important," Zhou Mi, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that while China and the three countries have great complementarity in trade, there are also some hurdles, as some Western countries continue to smear China. "Therefore, we urgently need a platform to enhance mutual trust."

Zhou noted that the top topics during the talks will likely include discussions on finding ways to reduce trade friction and disputes. In addition to bilateral economic and trade matters, the talks will also likely focus on promoting regional cooperation through the RCEP and other trade mechanisms, according to Zhou. 

The trip to Australia, which is said to be the first one by a Chinese Premier to the country in seven years, has in particular gained widespread attention, as bilateral ties and cooperation have recently shown stabilizing signs following a period of tension. Many in Australia have high expectations for the trip to further stabilize bilateral ties and boost cooperation. 

"Premier Li Qiang's visit will certainly consolidate and further stabilize the China-Australia relationship, and it will develop a better way of understanding of the way that each country is thinking about the issues that are causing some friction in the relationship," Daryl Guppy, a former national board member of the Australia China Business Council and Australian representative of the Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce, told the Global Times. 

The trip is already beginning to open up channels of communication, so both China and Australia can make more informed decisions about the issues that are important and the issues that are affecting the two sides, said Guppy.

Chen Fengying, an economist and former director of the Institute of World Economic Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that the trip is also of great significance in promoting regional cooperation. 

"In my opinion, interaction with the Asia-Pacific region is very important," Chen told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that strengthening cooperation under the RCEP and other regional frameworks is critical for stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Chen noted that the trip will also send a strong signal to regional countries that China's continuous opening-up will offer even greater potential for cooperation. 

"China's proactive opening-up policy will create a new round of opportunities for countries in the Asia-Pacific, including neighboring countries and important trading partners," Chen said.