The Message from Li Qiang’s Tri-nation Visit

By choosing to build bridges rather than walls, China is setting an example for other nations to follow.

The world took notice of Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s official visit to New Zealand, Australia, and Malaysia in June. This momentous trip, the first by a Chinese premier to New Zealand since 2017, augurs a promising prospect of cooperation between China and its global partners.

At the heart of Li’s visit is a clear message: China is ready to embrace the world with open arms. This sentiment is exemplified by China’s unilateral announcement of visa-free travel for New Zealanders, a gesture of goodwill and trust that showcases China’s confidence as a global leader.

During a joint press conference with New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Premier Li expressed China’s willingness to discuss measures to promote two-way travel between the two nations. “China has implemented a unilateral visa-free policy for New Zealand,” he stated, adding, “China supports New Zealand in holding tourism promotion activities in China.”

This commitment to fostering closer ties extends beyond tourism. Li and Luxon witnessed the signing of several agreements covering trade, the environment, and other economic matters. The talks also focused on key areas of cooperation, such as innovative business, agricultural technology, education, and cultural exchanges.

The New Zealand visit coincided with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-New Zealand Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, making it a journey of friendship and cooperation. Li emphasized the importance of deepening exchanges and cooperation in various fields between the two countries to create an upgraded version of the comprehensive strategic partnership.

China and New Zealand, despite being geographically distant, share a long history of friendly exchanges and mutual understanding. Over the past 50 years, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, their relations have consistently been at the forefront of China’s relations with developed countries. The two nations have achieved results in cooperation across the board, including trade, investment, tourism, science and technology, and cultural exchanges.

This spirit of openness and collaboration is not limited to New Zealand. China’s approach stands in stark contrast to the isolationist and confrontational stance adopted by some other major powers. While countries like the United States seem intent on building walls and containing China, China is choosing a different path – one of engagement, cooperation, and mutual benefit.

Participants interact with lion dance performers during a welcome ceremony of the dragon boat races at Darling Harbour in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 16, 2024. (Photo/Xinhua)

Through its actions, China is demonstrating its commitment to building a community of shared future for all. This vision, championed by the Chinese leadership, emphasizes the importance of working together to address global challenges and promote common development. It is a vision that rejects zero-sum thinking and embraces the idea that all countries can prosper together.

Li’s visit to New Zealand, Australia, and Malaysia is a testament to this vision. Despite the challenges in its relationship with Australia, China remains committed to engagement and cooperation. In recent years, Australia has taken a series of restrictive economic measures against China. Moreover, Australia’s stance on issues related to China’s Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan regions has violated the basic norms of international relations.

Yet in the face of these challenges China continues to extend an olive branch. Li’s visit to Australia demonstrates China’s willingness to engage in dialogue and find common ground, even with countries that have taken a more confrontational approach. This is the essence of China’s vision for a community of shared future – a commitment to work together despite differences, and to build a world where all nations can prosper.

As the world faces unprecedented challenges – from climate change to economic uncertainty – China’s approach offers hope. By choosing to build bridges rather than walls, China is setting an example for other nations to follow. It is an example that emphasizes the importance of collaboration, mutual understanding, and a shared commitment to building a better future for all.

The world is at a crossroads, and the choices we make now will shape the course of history. As China continues to extend its hand in friendship and cooperation, it is up to other nations to decide whether they will embrace this spirit of openness or continue down the path of division and confrontation.

One thing is certain: the world is watching, and the stakes could not be higher. As we navigate the challenges of the 21st century, it is clear that the only way forward is together. China’s open embrace is an invitation to join hands and build a community of shared future for mankind – a future of prosperity, harmony, and mutual understanding.


Su Tiping is the director of the Department of International and Intercultural Studies at Xi’an International Studies University.