New Zealand Ambassador Addresses 2010 PKU NZ Centre Students
New Zealand’s Ambassador to China, H.E. Carl Worker, addressed the students of the New Zealand Centre’s undergraduate course on 24 November 2010. In a presentation lasting two hours, Ambassador Worker gave the students of ‘New Zealand: History and Culture’ a broad overview of the historical features, current dynamics and future prospects of China-New Zealand relations. This was the second time that the Ambassador contributed to the New Zealand Centre’s course, having also given a lecture to the class of 2009.
Ambassador H.E. Carl Worker with the students after the lecture
Carl Worker has contributed to improving New Zealand-China relations for over 25 years. A career diplomat, he served at the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing twice in the past – from 1984-86 and then again from 1992-94 – before taking up his current post as Ambassador in April of last year. Carl also served as New Zealand’s Consul-General in Hong Kong from 1994-98, and represented New Zealand during Hong Kong’s historic return to China.
In his presentation, Ambassador Worker described the relationship between China and New Zealand as vibrant and strong. As a friend and partner of the Chinese people, New Zealand genuinely wants China to succeed, and believes that China’s success will benefit the world. This positive assessment has been echoed strongly on the Chinese side. Last year, Premier Wen Jiabao stated that China and New Zealand’s relationship has never been better.
Relations between the two countries are characterised by frequent high level visits. In the past year, New Zealand has hosted several of China’s top leaders, including Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang. There have also been over ten ministerial or higher-level visits from New Zealand to China this year, including the visit of Prime Minister John Key during New Zealand’s national day at the Shanghai World Expo.
New Zealand-China relations are also characterised by close cooperation in many areas. According to Ambassador Worker, the China-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) signed in 2008 was a particularly important milestone in the relationship. This was China’s first comprehensive bilateral FTA with a developed Western country, and has helped two-way trade between the two countries grow strongly at a time of global economic downturn.
Aside from the FTA, the two countries are working together in a variety of other areas. New Zealand is a destination of choice for many Chinese international students and tourists, and this trend is set to continue. There also exists great scope for Chinese-New Zealand cooperation in the areas of science and technology, environmental sustainability, and climate change. Finally, the Ambassador spoke of the importance of the Chinese community in New Zealand, and noted the contributions that Chinese have made to New Zealand.
At the conclusion of his talk, Ambassador Worker took questions from the student audience. He encouraged one student – who hoped to someday work for the Chinese Foreign Service – to pursue his aspiration. Another student, who asked if there was any New Zealand art on display in Beijing, was surprised to receive a personal invitation from the Ambassador to visit the He Pakiaka Maori Treasure Room at the New Zealand Embassy.
Ambassador Carl Worker’s seminar presented a very valuable opportunity for PKU students to hear from and interact with a distinguished diplomat and expert in the field of China-New Zealand relations.