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New Ambassador To China

New Zealand’s next ambassador to China will be John McKinnon, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“Our relationship with China is critical for New Zealand both in diplomatic and economic terms,” Mr Goff said.

“The bilateral relationship is broad-ranging and dynamic. This government is committed to developing the relationship further and at all levels. The past year has seen high level visits in both directions. Such visits are a measure of our healthy relationship and offer opportunities for further policy dialogue.

“The economic relationship is moving from strength to strength. I hope that John McKinnon will be able to move this strong relationship forward to another level. New Zealand looks forward to China’s imminent accession to the World Trade Organisation, which will create a new context for trade and investment relationships.

"China is New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner. Two way trade was more than $2.3 billion in the year to June. Merchandise exports rose 17.6 percent and imports by 32 percent over the same period. New Zealand exports are diversifying from a strong primary sector base to include a range of manufacturing and hi-tech products.

“Education and tourism developments promise rapid growth, and will help cement ties at the people to people level.

Mr McKinnon is a career diplomat, speaks Chinese, and has previously been posted in Beijing. He was Deputy Representative in New York during New Zealand’s term on the United Nations Security Council in the mid-1990s. He has also served in Washington and Canberra.

More recently, Mr McKinnon has been Director of the External Assessments Bureau in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr McKinnon takes up his position in January 2001. He replaces Peter Adams, who will be returning to Wellington.

ENDS

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