Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FM announces details of South East Asian tour

Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, will travel to India, Indonesia and Singapore next week for meetings aimed at reinvigorating New Zealand’s relations with South and South East Asia. 

“The Coalition Government is making South and South East Asia a priority because it is critical to maintaining and building New Zealand’s security and prosperity,” said Mr Peters.

“We intend for the New Zealand Government to bring greater focus and energy to South and South East Asia – a fast-growing region with significant further potential for our country.” 

He said the centrepiece engagements of the trip will be extended meetings with the Foreign Ministers of India, Indonesia and Singapore: Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Retno Marsudi and Vivian Balakrishnan respectively.

“It will be a privilege to spend further time with three such experienced and accomplished Foreign Ministers whose views on the issues facing the world and the Indo-Pacific in particular carry considerable weight. If New Zealand wishes to maximise our influence and impact in the region, we need to lift our game with all three of India, Indonesia and Singapore.”

Mr Peters leaves for the region on Sunday 10 March and will visit India (Ahmedabad and New Delhi) on 10-13 March, Indonesia (Jakarta) on 14-15 March and Singapore on 15 March – before returning to New Zealand on Saturday 16 March.

In Ahmedabad, the Foreign Minister plans to meet with Bhupendrabhai Patel, the Chief Minister of Gujarat – a state which he says has been an engine of Indian economic growth, and which has significant connections to New Zealand’s Indian diaspora. In Delhi he will also be highlighting the shared interest that New Zealand and India have in helping the development of the Pacific Islands region.

“India is a country with which New Zealand can, should and will be doing more. New Zealand recognises the global and regional leadership role that India plays, and we are determined to build a broader, deeper, mutually beneficial relationship.” 

In Jakarta, Mr Peters will meet with Indonesian leaders to discuss strengthening the two countries’ ties further in 2024. 

“Indonesia will be within the world’s top 10 economies by 2030 and there is considerable potential to increase our two-way trade, including through halal recognition and resolving barriers to trade. Indonesia shapes the region and the world.” 

The Minister’s visit is also an opportunity to acknowledge the fifth anniversary of the March 15 terror attacks. 

“Jakarta was the first capital I visited following the March 15 attacks in 2019, and Indonesia Foreign Minister Marsudi was instrumental in helping New Zealand to engage with the Muslim world in the weeks following. It is appropriate that we return to the capital of the world’s most populous Muslim country on this anniversary,” he said.

In Singapore, Mr Peters will also meet Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Richard Chandler, the New Zealand-born chair of Singapore conglomerate the Clermont Group.

“New Zealand and Singapore have a strong, long-standing relationship which requires further effort to ensure it is realising its full potential. We intend to talk to partners in Singapore next week about priority developments in our region, and further areas where we can cooperate,” Mr Peters said.

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