The 20 th ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue, held last week in Wellington, New Zealand, discussed efforts to further ASEAN-New Zealand cooperation in the ongoing Four Flagship Initiatives.

According to a press release issued by ASEAN Secretariat on February 19, the two sides assessed the outcomes and progress of the Initiatives, including the ASEAN-New Zealand Scholarships Programme, Disaster Risk Management, Young Business Leaders’ Initiative and Agricultural Diplomacy.

They also reviewed the progress of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration for ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership (2010-2015).

Officials of ASEAN and New Zealand exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues of common concern as well as identified important potential areas for their future cooperation, including education, business, connectivity and other areas of functional cooperation under the Plan of Action.
ASEAN member states appreciated the efforts in implementing these initiatives and looked forward to New Zealand ’s continued support and assistance to ASEAN’s Community building and regional integration.

New Zealand pledged to assist ASEAN in fulfilling its common goals by 2015.

The dialogue was co-chaired by John Allen, CEO and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand and Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Vice Foreign Minister of Laos.

As the current chair of ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue Relations, Laos will host the 21st ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue in early 2014.-VNA