BALI, 4 March 2016 – ASEAN and New Zealand Senior Officials, meeting at the 23rd ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue held in Bali, Indonesia, reaffirmed the close ties and strong partnership between both sides and agreed to explore opportunities to further strengthen cooperation for mutual benefit. This dialogue is the first to be held since New Zealand was declared a strategic partner of ASEAN at the ASEAN-New Zealand Summit held in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the relationship.

Noting the progress in ASEAN-New Zealand ties since the partnership was first established, both sides agreed that the relations are now substantial and multi-faceted. There was a high level of political engagement, significant economic ties facilitated by the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), and expansion of cooperation to other areas such as defence and security, disaster risk management, connectivity, maritime cooperation and non-traditional security areas. ASEAN recognised New Zealand’s continued assistance and contributions to development programmes, capacity building, human resource development and other forms of support to ASEAN and ASEAN Member States. New Zealand’s commitment to continue its assistance to ASEAN was deeply appreciated. Both sides agreed that the cooperation should be focussed, realistic and achievable.

New Zealand expressed continued commitment to the region through its participation in regional mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus. It expressed strong support for ‘ASEAN Centrality’ in the regional architecture.

Both sides discussed regional and international issues, including recent developments in the South China Sea, the Middle East, as well as other security challenges such as counter-terrorism and transnational crime, trafficking in persons, IUU fishing and cyber-crime among others. The dialogue reaffirmed the importance of peaceful resolution to disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with International Law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The dialogue was co-chaired by His Excellency Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and His Excellency Brook Barrington, Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, and attended by senior representatives from ASEAN Members States.