Chinese Premier Li to visit New Zealand, Australia


SYDNEY (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will travel to New Zealand for talks with government and business leaders next week, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English announced on Sunday.


Li's visit comes as international attention centers on China’s role in promoting free trade and globalization amid a turbulent start by new U.S. President Donald Trump.


New Zealand and Australia hope to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership by encouraging China and other major Asian economies to join the trade treaty after Trump ended U.S. involvement.


The Chinese premier will travel to New Zealand after visiting Australia for talks with Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull.


He and his wife, Professor Cheng Hong, will lead a delegation of business and government representatives to New Zealand from March 26-29.

"The visit is an important opportunity to set the agenda for the next stage of our strong relationship and demonstrates our shared commitment to open trade and economic growth," English said in a statement.

(Reporting by Harry Pearl; Editing by Paul Tait)