Chinese State Councilor to discuss science, education on New Zealand visit

2012-12-07 00:30:28 GMT2012-12-07 08:30:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

State Councilor Liu Yandong will be the first senior Chinese official since last month's Communist Party of China leadership transition to visit New Zealand, the New Zealand government announced Friday.

Liu Yandong, whose portfolios include education, science, screen and television, and culture, will be in New Zealand from Dec. 9 to 11 to discuss cooperation in science and innovation as well as education.

New Zealand Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said he and Liu would sign a joint declaration on science and technology in Wellington on Dec. 10.

"The joint declaration will underline the strong links New Zealand and China have in science and technology and the intention to boost co-operation between our two countries in this area," Joyce said in a statement.

"New Zealand places enormous value on the bilateral trade and economic relationship with China, our second largest trading partner. Since 2008 the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement has seen trade between our countries increase by more than 50 percent and we want this growth to continue."

Liu and Education Minister Hekia Parata would also sign an agreement to grow co-operation in education between New Zealand and China, which is the largest source of international students to New Zealand.

She will also meet Prime Minister John Key, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and visit Auckland University, and attend a dinner hosted by the New Zealand China Council.

In Wellington, she will meet with New Zealand recipients of the Chinese government Friendship Award, and with representatives of the New Zealand-based Chinese community, as well as attending an official dinner at Premier House, the Prime Minister's official residence.

The visit will take place ahead of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China on Dec. 22.

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