Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with visiting New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key in Beijing, capital of China, March 19, 2014. John Key is paying a working visit to China from March 18 to 20 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Cooperation between China and New Zealand is pioneering and exemplary, said Chinese President Xi Jinping as he met with visiting New Zealand Prime Minister John Key here on Wednesday.
During the meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Xi highlighted agreements between the two countries on direct trading of currencies, saying that he believes Key's China tour will instil new vitality into the bilateral relationship.
On Tuesday, Key and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the beginning of direct trading between the RMB and NZ dollar. Key is on a three-day working visit to China as Li's guest.
Wednesday's meeting was the third over the past year between Xi and Key, which, as the Chinese president said, has fully demonstrated the two sides' great attention to the bilateral relationship.
Xi said there is immense potential for China-NZ cooperation and both sides bear sincere aspirations to know each other more deeply and boost cooperation further.
Xi called for closer China-New Zealand cooperation on farming, green energy, energy saving, emission reduction, high technology, culture, education and tourism.
"The Chinese side stands ready to make joint efforts with New Zealand to lead the bilateral comprehensive partnership to a new high on the basis of mutual respect and win-win reciprocity," Xi said.
Key said China has become New Zealand's biggest trading partner, top country of origin of foreign students and the second largest country of origin of tourists.
The New Zealand side respects China's core interests and looks forward to closer cooperation with China, said the prime minister, adding that his country welcomes investment from China and will guarantee the quality of food exported to China with a strict standard and in a responsible way.
Key said he is confident that the two countries will achieve the target of trading volume, set at 30 billion NZ dollars (some 26 billion U.S. dollars) annually, in 2020.
Key said the New Zealand side will back China's work to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing in November.
Key also expressed his sympathy to the Chinese side on the missing of Malaysian jetliner MH370, which carried 239 people, including 154 Chinese passengers. Xi said the Chinese government will never give up searching if there is still hope.