China and New Zealand are to forge a "Three Brothers" partnership involving Massey University from New Zealand, Peking University and Xinjiang's Shihezi University, said New Zealand Minister for Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson here Thursday.
The three universities are engaged in a Chinese government-funded project on the Chinese sheep breeds gene program.
Pete Hodgson said he was in Beijing this week with a delegation from New Zealand researchers as part of a "Science to Market" program which aims to promote greater collaboration between New Zealand and China in the scientific fields.
"Last week, New Zealand and China signed the free trade agreement, which will deepen the trade engagement between our countries. My visit this week demonstrates New Zealand's strong commitment to China and highlights that our relationship spans various sectors," Hodgson added.
"The delegation I have led includes leading New Zealand scientists who are already working with counterparts in China to find win-win solutions for all concerned," Hodgson said.
Professor Hugh Blair from Massey University said the project had clear practical benefits for the three partners and for the bilateral research relationship.
"The vision of the project is to establish a leading research and teaching center for sheep breeds in western China at Shihezi University by 2015," Blair said.
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is in the northwestern part of China, where the sheep breeding industry is an economic pillar.