Jakarta (VNA) – Senior officials from ASEAN and New Zealand reaffirmed their commitment for stronger cooperation at the 28th ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue held online on March 23, following an important milestone in their strategic partnership.
Last year, the two sides commemorated the 45th anniversary of dialogue relations and adopted a new ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action 2021-2025, to mark a new chapter in their relations.
At the dialogue, the officials noted the full implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action (2016-2020), and underlined the need to further enhance cooperation between the two sides under the new Plan of Action.
The meeting identified a number of key areas in the new Plan of Action, where ASEAN and New Zealand could enhance their collaboration, such as maritime security, fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, sustainable development, marine sustainability, trade, investment and economic recovery plan, renewable energy, disaster risk management, settlement of climate change, healthcare, human capital development, education, and people-to-people connection.
In advancing economic cooperation, both sides look forward to the upgrade negotiations of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), as well as the conclusion of the negotiation of the Regional Air Services Agreement between ASEAN and New Zealand.
They also welcomed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in November last year, and look forward to an early entry into force of the agreement next year.
The meeting exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, highlighting the importance of ASEAN-led mechanisms and ASEAN’s centrality in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.
ASEAN senior officials commended New Zealand’s success in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its efforts toward establishing a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. They also appreciated New Zealand’s support and contribution to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund./.