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McCully highlights relationship with China

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/04/2017

Murray McCully. © MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images Murray McCully. Murray McCully says his key preoccupation during eight and a half years as foreign minister has been managing New Zealand's "complex, intense and dynamic" relationship with China.

Mr McCully will hand in his resignation next month, having previously announced his retirement, and his successor is expected to be named within weeks.

In a speech to the Institute of International Affairs on Tuesday night he reflected on his time in office.

"Had it not been for the dramatic expansion of trade and economic relations with China in the early years of the Key government, New Zealand would have suffered a long and sustained recession, and all of the associated challenges that we have seen in some European nations," he said.

"The very successful visit by Premier Li just last week has set the scene for a new chapter in which China will be overwhelmingly become New Zealand's biggest trade and economic partner."

Mr McCully said he wanted to address directly the notion that somehow New Zealand would at times need to choose between its relationship with the US and it's relationship with China.

"That seems to attract coverage on slow news days... that belief shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of both relationships," he said.

"It also runs directly counter to the whole notion of an independent foreign policy - we will, and do, agree and disagree with both the US and China according to our own sense of what is right, and what is in New Zealand's interests."

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