WELLINGTON, 20 March 2019 – ASEAN and New Zealand reaffirmed their strong ties and agreed to explore opportunities to further strengthen the strategic partnership at the 26th ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue in Wellington, New Zealand yesterday.

During the meeting, ASEAN senior officials expressed condolences to the government and people of New Zealand over the terrorist attacks in Christchurch on 15 March.

Both sides highlighted the progress made in the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Statement for ASEAN-New Zealand Strategic Partnership (2016-2020) and emphasised the importance of strengthening their current cooperation. In moving forward, ASEAN and New Zealand agreed to strengthen cooperation in priority areas of mutual interest, including defence; counter terrorism; maritime cooperation; cybersecurity; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; trade facilitation; sustainable development; climate change; food and agriculture; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; disaster risk management; and connectivity.

ASEAN also appreciated New Zealand’s continued support through several education programmes, including the ASEAN-New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellows Award, the Young ASEAN Diplomats Study Tour to New Zealand, the Young Business Leaders’ Initiatives, the Short-Term Training Scholarships, and the English Language Training for Officials Programme.

The meeting exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern, including developments in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, and highlighted the importance of an ASEAN-centred regional architecture, rules-based international order and multilateral trading system.

Both sides noted that the ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations would have two milestones in 2020, namely the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations and the completion of the current Plan of Action (2016-2020). In this regard, the two parties looked forward to developing a new Plan of Action (2021-2025), which will provide an opportunity to strengthen the strategic partnership.

The dialogue was co-chaired by Kan Pharidh, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and Ben King, Deputy Secretary, Americas and Asia Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, and was attended by senior representatives from ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Secretariat.