China is launching a public relations offensive in New Zealand and the rest of world, saying the West has nothing to fear from China's rapid economic growth and investment.

The Chinese embassy's political counsellor Cheng Lei held a rare press conference this morning at the embassy in Wellington, reading out a statement then answering question.

He said similar briefings were taking place at other embassies around the world.

He said the Chinese Government encouraged Chinese companies to invest globally and there was a great deal of confidence in the New Zealand system and people.

Advertisement

He said that there was a minority of xenophobes in New Zealand who were"reasonably fearful" of any Chinese investments regardless of what kind of enterprise, how much capital was involved, or what the benefit was to the local community.

Mr Cheng hoped the media would educate New Zealanders as to what Chinese investment meant for the economy.

"But on the other hand we should also discipline our Chinese businesses when they go abroad, when they come to your country, to let them know they should take corporate social responsibilities as a commitment to the New Zealand side, to get them to be committed to making positive and concrete contributions to the local communities where they invest in your country.

"We have heard many times from your Government actually that your Government in principle is in support of Chinese enterprise investments in your country."

But he knew there was sensitivity around the buying of strategic assets, such as Crafar farms.

"We need to be prudent - we need to be careful."

But it needed to be a two - way interaction.

"I do think the New Zealand should also welcome foreign investments on equal footing."

Advertisement

He said New Zealand was an ideal place for international capital.

He mentioned that Pengxin Group from Shanghai had a bid in to buy the Crafar farms (16 farms in receivership in the North Island) after Natural Dairy's bid was declined by the Overseas Investment Office.

"It depends largely on the enterprises themselves to seek lucrative opportunities in your country."

He said that after a review of bilateral relations over four decades, "we do think that your country is not only a good friend but a good partner in the Asia Pacific region.''

"I dont think your country as a whole rejects foreign investment, foreign influence, foreign interactions with your country, with your people.

"Your country does not pursue an isolationist strategy. Your people are open-minded. Your people always welcome foreign influence and your country is well known for a diversified culture, diversified community.

"That is where your country's strength is lying.''

He did not think there should be any major obstacle to investment from China.

Asked if he believed the insistence by United States' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the United States was not trying to contain China, Mr Cheng said: "Words need to meet with actions. We not only like to hear that, we like to see that.''

The Administration of Barack Obama pursued a strategy aimed at co-operating with China as much as possible but a minority in the United States wanted to contain China.

Mr Cheng said while some people felt the US was in the decline and that China should replace it in the next few decades as the world's only Superpower, his view was that that was "very dangerous.''

"China is in no place to replace the US in the near future or in the long run.''

It was also dangerous to think that China should be contained was dangerous.

Reading from the statement, Mr Cheng sought to dispel the notion of any looming 'China collapse' theory or the notion that a rising China was a threat to the world.

"It is true that China has mounting inflation and the risk of a property bubble, but that shall not lead to the 'China collapse' conclusion.

Since late last year, the Government had gradually increased interest rates, reined in bank lending and taken several measures to deter real estate speculation.

Home buyers in China had to have a 30 per cent deposit compared to zero in some other countries.

The World Bank recently forecast that the Chinese economy was on course to expand 9.3 per cent this year, and it ranked first among 22 emerging economies as the country most likely to maintain steady and rapid growth over the next five years, according to Bloomberg Economic Momentum Index for Developing Asia.

Anyone without bias, said Mr Cheng, could easily see that China's development was good for both itself and the world.

"China's history and cultural traditions determine that China will never be an expansionist power," the statement said.

"The Chinese nation believes in harmony, peace, and honouring commitment.

"Confucius told us "harmony in the most precious," "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." "facilitate and not harm, and provide and not compete."

"These Chinese mottos tell us a lot about the character of the the Chinese nation."

Unlike other rising powers in history, China had never inflicted any wars or conflicts on itself or the international community."