His Excellency BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines
During the ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit
[October 30, 2010; Hanoi, Vietnam]
[Please check against delivery]
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
Prime Minister John Key,
My colleagues in ASEAN,
A pleasant afternoon to all.
Six years after our very first Summit, that was held jointly with Australia, and hosted by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Vientiane in 2004, we are marking another milestone in ASEAN-New Zealand relations. Today we renew our regional friendship at this Commemorative Summit, reflecting on 35 years of partnership and looking forward with optimism to the next 35 years and even beyond.
Allow me first to welcome His Excellency Prime Minister John Key to this momentous event. I wish to thank the Government and People of Viet Nam for their generous hosting of this important occasion.
The Philippines is privileged to participate in this ASEAN-New Zealand Summit and we gratefully acknowledge New Zealand for her continued dedication towards forging closer relations with ASEAN. Those relations are governed by the ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership for 2010 to 2015. It is a unique partnership because it focuses on areas which are sometimes overlooked in ASEAN’s cooperative efforts in other countries, namely education, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
Initiatives like scholarship programs and young business leaders exchanges would help foster understanding and familiarity and ultimately improve inter-regional commerce and political discourse.
Of course the partnership is not limited to that. Trade between ASEAN and New Zealand will grow in the coming years with the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreements.
On the security front, the Philippines has encouraged the resumption of the senior officials meeting on transnational crime, most recently at the ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue held in Auckland last June. I am confident that these discussions will bear fruit.
I look forward to an expanded cooperation with New Zealand in the next five years, leading up to the envisioned ASEAN Community 2015. And in order to provide new impetus to New Zealand’s renewed desire to uplift its level of engagement with ASEAN, the Philippines welcomes New Zealand’s proposal to convene an Integration Partnership Forum that will come up with recommendations for the future framework of economic cooperation between ASEAN, and Australia and New Zealand. On this matter, we also support the re-establishment of the High Level Task Force to further assist us in guiding the directions of our partnership into the far future. I look forward to receiving their recommendations at our next Meeting for us to collectively assess and decide on the way forward for regional cooperation.
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