Sunday, May 26, 2024

PM wraps up ASEAN talks

The Prime Minister has wrapped up meetings in Cambodia with her Indo-Pacific counterparts at the annual meeting of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Second ASEAN Global Dialogue on Post-COVID-19 Comprehensive Recovery.

Leaders from ASEAN nations as well as Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese; US President, Joe Biden; Republic of Korea President, Yoon Suk Yeol; and Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida also attended among others.

“Leaders met this year against a challenging backdrop of inflationary, economic and security challenges in the region,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“My participation ensured New Zealand had a voice on the issues that are shaping our wider home region, and reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its centre.

“I also took the opportunity at the EAS, and in my conversations with Leaders in Cambodia, to reiterate our values-based approach to the key issues on human rights, and regional security.

“As a small country its important New Zealand takes part in these forums to express our views on the regional and global security conflicts and economic challenges that have real effects on New Zealanders and their families,” the Prime Minister said.

It was the first time the group has met in person since pre-COVID 2019.

“Our condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the military coup in Myanmar, were also topics we engaged on,” Ms Ardern said.

“We remain deeply concerned at the situation in Myanmar, particularly the ongoing violence against civilians including strikes on schools and the execution of prisoners.”

At the ASEAN Dialogue Leaders spoke of the serious economic challenges their nations are facing in the face of the global inflationary and economic pressures, the Prime Minister said.

“ASEAN is particularly impacted. Compounding the existing fragility of many ASEAN nations, the pandemic has created a crisis spanning the health, economy, social protection and security spheres.  Poverty is on the rise in the Indo Pacific for the first time since the 1998 Asian financial crisis and is forecasted to rise beyond 2022.”

“It is important that the massive economic strides that have been made in the region in recent decades, like boosting growth through trade and economic integration, innovation and investment, are not set back by a turn inwards in the face of crisis.  We must lean into each other not stray apart if we are to strengthen our economies and overcome the gathering storm clouds,” she said.

The Prime Minister also held a bilateral meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and announced the conclusion of the negotiation to upgrade the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

The Prime Minister will now travel to Viet Nam and will be joined by Minister for Trade and Export Growth and a business delegation from New Zealand.

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