New Zealand Society Determined to Promote NZ-China Ties

The New Zealand- China Friendship Society (NZCFS) is determined to double its effort to promote friendship and exchange between the peoples of New Zealand and China.

Speaking at the Society's annual conference, which was held on Saturday and Sunday in Auckland, the biggest city of New Zealand, National President Bill Willmott noted this is "a favorable time for our Society, with growing interest in Chinese culture and language in New Zealand and ever improving relations with China."

He urged branches of the Society to make realistic plans for progress and advance on their efforts to bring New Zealand-China ties closer.

Willmott said his Society still has a lot of things to do in promoting educational and cultural exchange, tourism, and sister-city ties between the two countries.

Vice-President Chen Yongchang of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), who was in Auckland especially for the annual event, also addressed the conference, praising the "friends in the NZCFS" for their hard working for promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples over the past few decades since the NZCFS was established in 1952.

"The NZCFS is our counterpart in New Zealand for conducting people-to-people exchanges. Close relations of cooperation and friendly sentiments have been forged between our two organizations. All of us in the CPAFFC cherish very much our relations and friendship," he said.

"In the past few decades, practical results have been achieved in non-governmental diplomacy between China and New Zealand. These achievements cannot be separated from the great support and coordination given by the NZCFS," Chen stressed.

Chinese Consul General in Auckland Zhao Xiangling said at the conference that before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the NZCFS stood at the foremost demanding the New Zealand Government to recognize people's China.

"You have all along played a championing role in promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries since the formal relations were forged in 1972," he said.

Zhao noted all the sympathy and support the NZCFS has given China over the years are "deeply appreciated" by the Chinese Government and people.

Deputy Mayor of Auckland Bruce Hucker also attended the conference. He said in his speech that the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has for a long time recognized the positive role the NZCFS has played in deepening understanding and friendship between the two countries.

He pledged his support to the NZCFS's future work.

The two-day conference examined the Society's work in the past year and made plans for the next year on the basis of suggestions from the branches.

The conference also elected new National Committee of the Society with Willmott remaining the national president.

People's Daily Online ---