|Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung
On behalf of ASEAN member states, Dung, who is also Chair of the ASEAN-Vietnam Senior Officials’ Meeting, spoke highly of New Zealand’s role and contributions to regional defence-security over the past years, noting that both sides need to increase collaboration to uphold the role and increase efficiency of regional security cooperation mechanisms led by ASEAN.
He called for joint work to build the capacity of coping with security challenges, including preventive diplomatic measures and improvement of the capacity of law enforcement agencies, as well as maritime coordination.
Dung stressed that narrowing development gap is an important priority of ASEAN and of Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV).
Vietnam proposed several specific measures and asked ASEAN partners, including New Zealand, to continue offering technical and capacity building support to the bloc, so that ASEAN can successfully conduct the third stage of the Working Plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), towards realising the ASEAN Vision 2025.
Reviewing the past bilateral ties on the basis of the ASEAN-New Zealand Plan of Action for the 2016-2020 period with the Human Strategy and Prosperity Strategy as major strategies, both sides expressed their satisfaction with the growing ties, especially since the upgrade of their relationship to the Strategic Partnership level at the ASEAN-New Zealand 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2015.
New Zealand reaffirmed the importance it attaches to ties with ASEAN and support of the bloc’s central role in the evolving regional architecture.
In the face of threats to regional peace environment and security, including traditional and non-traditional security challenges, policy shift of major powers and the trends of trade protectionism and populism as well as extreme violence, the two sides emphasized the need for cooperation, trust building, dialogue maintenance and guarantee of peace, security and stability in the region.
Countries participating in the event expressed concern about recent developments in the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea.
New Zealand expressed support of ASEAN’s viewpoint on the East Sea and underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, the peaceful settlement of disputes, including respect for diplomatic and legal processes in line with international law.
On the economic front, ASEAN is now the fourth largest trade partner of New Zealand. Both sides agreed to effectively implement the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement signed in 2009 on the basis of the Prosperity Strategy.
New Zealand pledged to continue assisting ASEAN member nations in realising the IAI on narrowing development gap and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.
Both sides expressed support of regional economic connectivity, with immediate priorities given to early concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations, promoting trade facilitation towards quality and transparent liberalisation frameworks.
On socio-cultural aspects, both sides will continue to focus on cooperation in education, promotion of human connectivity and raising people-to-people exchange in line with the Human Strategy.
ASEAN member states asked New Zealand to extend support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which form one of the priorities in building ASEAN Economic Community.
As ASEAN will celebrate the 50th founding anniversary this year, New Zealand welcomed the theme and six priorities of ASEAN Year 2017, affirming that the country is willing to support the process and join celebrations.