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Chinese premier Li Qiang visits the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in Auckland on Friday.
Photo: RNZ / YITING LIN

Chinese premier Li Qiang has expressed interest in further co-operation with New Zealand on food research.

Li visited the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in Auckland on Friday on the second day of his visit.

The institute’s chief executive, Mark Piper, praised the long-term working relationship between the two countries in agriculture and food.

Li said many products from New Zealand, including kiwifruit and Rockit apples, were popular with Chinese people.

He said he would encourage Chinese scientific institutes to co-operate further with their New Zealand counterparts.

Chinese premier Li Qiang in Auckland, June 14th 2024.

A crowd gathers outside the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research in Auckland to welcome Chinese premier Li Qiang on Friday.
Photo: RNZ / YITING LIN

Dozens of Chinese people were standing in heavy rain outside the institute to welcome Li upon his arrival.

Li is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit New Zealand in seven years.

The trip coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

Li received an official welcome on Thursday before a formal meeting at Government House in Wellington, where a range of topics were discussed, including bilateral trade and human rights.

The visit also comes against a backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions.

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