Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for the Indo-Pacific region today for talks on security and economic issues at meetings of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, and during bilateral engagements in Malaysia.
“Engaging in person with our regional partners is a key part of our reconnecting strategy as borders reopen following the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
“The meetings in Phnom Penh will be the first opportunity for in-person ministerial engagement by ASEAN and its partners, including Aotearoa New Zealand, since 2019. Last year I joined all other ASEAN Ministers in online meetings for the annual forum.
“The meetings also build on talks in Jakarta in November with ASEAN’s Secretary General and the Indonesian President and Foreign Minister. The ongoing impact of the military coup in Myanmar will be a focus of this week’s talks.
“We will discuss what more can be done to support ASEAN’S Five-Point Consensus to help end the violence in Myanmar and return it to civilian rule. We strongly condemn the military coup and are gravely concerned by the executions of four prisoners.
“In April 2021, ASEAN leaders agreed five points aimed at ending violence. They include promoting inclusive dialogue; appointment of a special envoy; a visit of the special envoy; and humanitarian assistance for Myanmar. New Zealand has been supporting this process.
“The ASEAN-led meetings this week are also a valuable opportunity to engage on the regional strategic agenda, and practical cooperation in areas such as maritime security, counter terrorism, transnational crime, and cyber security.
“We are one of ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partners, and a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS). The ministerial meetings are a prelude to the full EAS leaders’ meetings in November. I will hold a bilateral ASEAN-New Zealand meeting, and participate in meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum and EAS Foreign Ministers.
“I then travel onto Kuala Lumpur for a bilateral visit marking 65 years of diplomatic relations. The objective is to support reconnection with Malaysia and promote the trade recovery agenda, in particular reinvigorating tourism and education links.
“Malaysia is also an important security and law enforcement partner as a fellow member of the Five Power Defence Arrangements, and in combatting transnational crime and terrorism threats in the region.
“Our shared values include a respect for open markets and a commitment to the centrality of regional architecture like ASEAN and APEC, and international action on climate change.
“The visits underscore Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to multilateralism and the importance of working together to address shared challenges. We need regional architecture which promotes a rules-based approach, protects human rights, emphasises open markets, and safeguards the sovereignty of all states, regardless of their size,” said Nanaia Mahuta.
Nanaia Mahuta returns on Wednesday 10 August.