A visit to New Zealand by Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping and a large business delegation was overshadowed by a clash between Green Party co-leader Russel Norman and the delegation, but otherwise lauded as a significant and successful trip.
The three-day visit ends today, but Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader Phil Goff said it was significant that such a large and powerful delegation had spent time here under the leadership of Mr Xi.
"He is a very big player in China and potentially is the person that will replace President Hu Jintao when he steps down in 2012," Mr Key said after meeting with the vice-president in Auckland yesterday.
He said the free-trade deal between the countries, signed off by the previous Labour government, had worked "tremendously well" for both sides and was a blueprint for China.
Mr Key said talks were quite wide-ranging, but mostly based on economics.
"There was mention of human rights. They also talked about the one-China policy in Tibet and Taiwan but broadly this was an economic meeting and you could see that by the fact that he took 100 business leaders with him."
Human rights were the focus of a lone Tibetan-flag waving protest by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman as the delegation arrived at Parliament yesterday.
Dr Norman clashed with the delegation's security detail as they tried to suppress what he was doing by thrusting an umbrella at him and pulling the flag from his grasp.
He said he was appalled at being treated in such a way by foreign visitors in the grounds of the Parliament he represents and has laid an assault complaint with police.
Late last night police said there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the assault allegation, but investigations would continue during the weekend.
In breaking news, Radio New Zealand has reported Mr Xi has cut short his visit and cancelled a visit to Victoira University this morning to open a new Chinese-funded Confucious Centre.
Mr Goff, who met with Mr Xi after the clash, said New Zealanders had a right to peaceful protest and freedom of speech and the incident "shouldn't have happened".
Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said it was not only an appalling way to treat a protesting MP, but counter-productive from the delegation's point of view.
"All it has done is highlight a solitary protestor holding a Tibetan flag. They drew attention to it and made an international incident out of it themselves."
Mr Goff said aside from the distraction, the two countries had developed a strong trade relationship which had grown to the extent where China was now New Zealand's second largest trade partner.
He said he also discussed with Mr Xi stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of it being conflict-free.
Also yesterday, ANZ bank in New Zealand signed a cooperation agreement with the China Development Bank that will see them working together on projects that assist trade and investment flows between the two countries.