Five 'firsts' in nearly half a century of China-New Zealand ties
By Wang Yushen
President Xi Jinping said during his meeting with New Zealand Pri me Minister Jacinda Ardern that China-New Zealand ties have always been at the forefront among the relationships between China and Western countries.
First established 47 years ago, China-New Zealand relations boast five "firsts." 
In 1997, the island nation became the first Western country to back China's accession to the World Trade Organization. 
Seven years later, it was the first Western country to designate China as a market economy. 
In 2008, New Zealand was the first Western country to sign a free trade agreement with China. 
Another seven years later, New Zealand joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, among the first Western nations to back China's efforts in regional development. 
The trend continued in 2017 when the country became the first in the Western world to sign an MoU with China on the Belt and Road Initiative.