ASEAN, New Zealand to reinforce strategic partnership hinh anh 1Ambasadors joining in the 8th meeting of the ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee on June 25 (Photo: Vietnam's permanent mission to ASEAN)

Jakarta (VNA) – ASEAN and New Zealand reiterated the commitment to further intensify their strategic partnership during the teleconferenced eighth meeting of the ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Cooperation Committee on June 25.

This was an annual meeting at the ambassador level to review and discuss measures for promoting ASEAN-New Zealand cooperation. Ambassador Tran Duc Binh, head of Vietnam’s permanent mission to ASEAN, took part in the event.

Participants highly valued the two sides’ recent achievements in carrying out cooperation activities in the spheres of politics-security, economy, trade, investment, tourism, training, culture, and people-to-people exchange.

New Zealand is currently the 10th largest trade partner and investor of ASEAN, with bilateral trade reaching 10.3 billion USD in 2018. It is also one of the six dialogue partners of the bloc taking part in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The countries highlighted positive results in the implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action for 2016-2020, noting that all the 59 action lines in the plan have been carried out, showing the multifaceted and sound cooperation between the two sides.

Cooperation activities and projects have all been substantive and highly fruitful, helping ASEAN to realise the ASEAN Community building targets, enhance connectivity, narrow development gap, develop human resources, boost cooperation among the Mekong countries, and improve capacity and cooperation in dealing with challenges like natural disaster management and response, terrorism, cyber security, and maritime security, according to the ambassadors.

New Zealand highly valued ASEAN countries’ cooperation efforts, initiatives and response measures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19.

Recently, New Zealand has granted ASEAN countries with 10 million USD to cope with epidemics and will continue providing them with another 27 million USD for response and post-pandemic recovery efforts.

Both ASEAN and New Zealand agreed to increase sharing information and experience in responding to epidemics, promote investment and trade, and maintain supply chains and regional connectivity.

Participants in the meeting said the two sides will shortly finalise a plan of action for 2021-2025 and enhance cooperation in areas of common concern.

New Zealand will continue assisting ASEAN countries to realise the Sustainable Development Goals and boost the complementarity between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Both sides also agreed to press on with fully implementing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and actively promote the signing of the RCEP.

New Zealand stressed the importance it attaches to the relations with ASEAN and pledged to support the bloc’s centrality in the region and actively participate in ASEAN-led regional mechanisms like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum.

The country also affirmed that it will keep coordinating with the grouping to prepare for a summit commemorating 45 years of the ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue partnership that is set to take place on the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam this November./.