Sunday, April 21, 2024

ASEAN meetings underway

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has begun a suite of meetings with her ASEAN and East Asia Summit counterparts, starting with the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via videoconference tonight.

Tonight’s meeting will be followed by the ASEAN-New Zealand Ministerial Meeting tomorrow and the 28th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on Friday, which brings in a number of additional partners from across the Indo-Pacific.

“These annual meetings are of significant importance to New Zealand as we look to re-engage with the world,” Minister Mahuta said.

“ASEAN’s ability to bring a range of important players together is critical for finding solutions to a range of regional issues that call for regional solutions. Key among them in 2021 are COVID-19, the need for equitable access to vaccines and how to support an inclusive and sustainable, green economic recovery.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s participation in the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum are important for their focus on the key political, economic and security issues of interest to the sixteen members of the EAS and the twenty seven members of the ARF,” said Nanaia Mahuta. She said that New Zealand’s major policy priorities for these meetings will be the pandemic, Myanmar, and maritime issues.

“We want to show solidarity with Indo-Pacific states as we tackle the challenges posed by Covid-19, and I will also be urging action on Myanmar. In addition, the tensions in the South China Sea continue to be a concern for New Zealand as they are for others,” said Ms Mahuta.

Last year, New Zealand celebrated 45 years of relations with the ASEAN bloc. The Minister noted that ASEAN had underpinned decades of regional peace and stability to New Zealand’s benefit and the partnership therefore continued to be vital.

“ASEAN’s 10 member states together comprise New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner, accounting for 10% of our total goods exports.”

“Economic cooperation with ASEAN extends beyond its value as an export market, as ASEAN will be a key partner for our economic recovery both as a trading partner and an advocate for upholding the multilateral trading system,” Ms Mahuta said.

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