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Top Chinese leader visits Christchurch

08:30 Sun Apr 15 2012
AAP
China's fourth-ranked leader Jia Qinglin is beginning his four-day visit to New Zealand in Christchurch where he will tour the quake-damaged city centre
China's fourth-ranked leader Jia Qinglin is beginning his four-day visit to New Zealand in Christchurch where he will tour the quake-damaged city centre (Getty)

A top ranking Chinese leader will tour Christchurch's red zone after arriving in New Zealand.

Fourth-ranked Chinese leader Jia Qinglin, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference chairman, is visiting for four days to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Primary Industries minister David Carter, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Ngai Tahu iwi will greet Chairman Jia at Christchurch Airport on Sunday morning.

He will be taken on a tour of the city's red zone, including viewing the ruins of ChristChurch Cathedral and Cathedral Square.

He will also visit the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and the Chinese settlement in Arrowtown in Central Otago.

Acting Prime Minister Bill English will host Chairman Jia during his stay.

New Zealand was the first developed country to negotiate a free trade agreement with China, and exports have tripled since it came into force in 2008.