The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre Hosts Roundtable with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Chinese delegation from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Photo of Chinese delegation from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. From Left to Right Dr Weijiang Feng, Director Zhang Yuyan, Dr Jie Sun and Dr Xu Xiujun

The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre (NZCCRC) hosted a roundtable with the Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP) from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) at Victoria University of Wellington on Thursday. Director Zhang Yuyan led the discussions on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), New Zealand China relations and the risks, challenges and opportunities of BRI in the Pacific. Both the NZCCRC and IWEP agreed to deepen their relationship through research collaboration and the hosting of visiting scholars in New Zealand.

Talks focused on how New Zealand and China can work together to ensure the best development outcomes for the South Pacific region. Having recently visited Fiji, the delegation wanted to gather insights from leading academics in New Zealand about New Zealand’s role in BRI. Director Zhang stated, “It is important to gather the views of the first developed economy who signed the MOU on the BRI and is also a key stakeholder in the region.” New Zealand signed the Memorandum of Arrangement with China on BRI collaboration in March this year during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit.

Challenges were identified by both sides, including visa arrangements, currency convertibility and the evolution of globalization. New Zealand delegates highlighted the importance of multilateral approaches to relations in the Pacific and awareness of local conditions while the Chinese delegates asked for input into what kinds of projects would be beneficial for the region and of interest to New Zealand.

Announced by Premier Xi Jinping in 2013, BRI is a regional development strategy focused on connectivity and infrastucture. What the BRI means for New Zealand and the South Pacific remains to be seen. The New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre is committed to learning more about BRI and to helping form a uniquely New Zealand view of the initiative.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is the leading academic research centre in the field of Social Sciences in the People’s Republic of China. The State Council affiliated think tank informs government decision making and produces original research in a wide range of areas. The Institute of World Economy & Politics (IWEP) is led by Director Zhang Yuyan and has a long history of cooperation with the China Research Centre.