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China, NZ committed to science research
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08:32, April 18, 2008

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Visiting Minister for Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson said yesterday that New Zealand is committed to collaborating with China in scientific fields.

"It is New Zealand's strong commitment to build a scientific partnership with China, after the signing last week of a historic free trade agreement," he said in Beijing.

Hodgson arrived in Beijing on Wednesday with a delegation of 65 researchers as part of the Science to Market program.

"The delegation I have led includes leading New Zealand scientists who are already working with counterparts in China," he said.

The scientific cooperation between the two sides will mostly focus on agricultural production, environmental science, human health and advanced biotechnology.

"Vice-minister Liu Yanhua and I believe renewable energy will also be an area New Zealand and China have probably got a lot to offer each other, " Hodgson said.

"Also, if China is interested in the Antarctic, New Zealand also has done a lot of research."

He also highlighted the "Three Brothers" partnership between New Zealand's Massey University, Peking University and Xinjiang's Shihezi University, which are engaging in a nonseasonal lambing project funded by the Chinese government.

The aim of the project is to create a research and teaching center for sheep breeding at Shihezhi University by 2015.

Launched last year, the 5- million-yuan ($715,000) project has already built two gene data libraries, Chen Chuangfu, vice-president of Shihezi University told China Daily yesterday.

"Once we find the genetic markers that enable nonseasonal lambing, we will be able to help breeders rear sheep that are as strong as cows," he said.

Nonseasonal lambing also has economic benefits for New Zealand, because of the limited genetic differences of its breeds, Hugh Blair, a professor at Massey University, said.

Source: China Daily

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