Audrey Young writes:
Why does the world biggest country pay so much attention to such a small country as New Zealand?
Before the changing of the guard in the Beijing leadership last month, of the nine former members of the powerful group Standing committee of the Politburo, seven had visited New Zealand.
The only other country to receive such a concentration high-level visits is said to be Singapore.
The new Standing Committee has been reduced to seven and only two have been to New Zealand, but the most important two, the President Xi Jinping (three times) and the Premier Li Leqiang in 2009 both in former capacities.
New Zealand has had annual talks with Beijing for some time. Australia has just got them this week.
Prime Minister John Key is being accorded time with both the Premier and President this trip.
So why does one of the smallest countries in the world have such a good relationship with the largest country in the world?
New Zealand is also small enough for China to test out ideas without complications, such as the joint aid project to provide Rarotonga with clean water. …
China is usually secretive and defensive about its aid budget. The Cook Islands joint aid venture is a first for them.
I wasn’t aware of that. The Pacific was in danger of becoming an arena for competing aid diplomacy. A co-operative approach is in fact much better for the Pacific.
One of the least recognised reasons China is so well disposed to New Zealand is the late Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who lived in China for 60 years helping to establish co-operatives -though these day the most famous Kiwi is probably Sir Peter Jackson.
No Hobbit or Jackson haters in China.