On January 14, 2007, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark in Cebu, Philippines.
Wen said that New Zealand is the first among Western countries to have signed a bilateral agreement on China's joining World Trade Organization, to have recognized the market economy status of China and to start bilateral free trade talks with China. This showed Wellington's wisdom and wide perspective in developing relations with China. He said China equally pays great importance to its relations with New Zealand and regards the country as a key cooperative partner in the South Pacific region.
Wen said relations between China and New Zealand have solid basis, and there exists a broad prospect of cooperation between the two countries. He suggested that the two countries fully take advantage of the existing multiple mechanisms for exchange to strengthen dialogue and actively implement the agreement reached by the leaders of the two countries on developing China-New Zealand comprehensive cooperation for mutual benefits in the 21st century, for the good of the two peoples. Wen said talks on establishing a China-New Zealand free trade area is moving forward with stable steps in accordance with the agreement reached by the two countries. He said both sides should properly deal with all the problems and differences on the basis of flexibility and pragmatism, to let the talks obtain more positive results, so that the two countries can reach the aim of striking a comprehensive, balanced and high-quality agreement in time.
Clark said it is very important for New Zealand to develop friendly and cooperative relations with China. She said the successful visit to New Zealand by Premier Wen last April gave a clear roadmap for future cooperation of the two countries. She said New Zealand is ready to make common efforts with China, to maintain the momentum of high-level visits between the two countries, and to push forward bilateral cooperation to make it bear more concrete results, in order to let the two countries establish a solid strategic relationship.
Clark also said New Zealand attaches great importance to the building of a free trade area with China. She said that while keeping in mind the principle of mutual understanding and compromise and taking into consideration the interests and concerns of both sides, Wellington is ready to move forward the negotiation process on such a free trade area in accordance with the timetable agreed upon by the two sides.
The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the Pacific Island countries.