Manila, 17 November 2021 (TDI): In a video conference, New Zealand and the Philippines agreed to jointly boost maritime security. Representative of the Philippines, as well as New Zealand, co-hosted the meeting.

The Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Neal Imperial represented the Philippines. Whereas the Division Manager of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) South and South East Asia, Andrew Needs, represented his country.

6th Philippines-New Zealand Foreign Ministry Consultations

During the 6th Philippines-New Zealand Foreign Ministry Consultations (FMC), the Philippines appreciated the support of New Zealand in the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. New Zealand sent a note verbale upheld the final and binding nature of the Arbitral Award; to the United Nations Secretary-General.

Foreign Ministry Consultations

The FMC is a bilateral mechanism to plan the course of future engagement as well as evaluate and support progress on essential enterprises spanning the complete spectrum of Philippines-New Zealand relations.

Neal Imperial also thanked New Zealand for supporting ASEAN centrality in ensuring stability, security, and peace in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea.

Bilateral Cooperation

Both sides acknowledged boosting bilateral cooperation, specifically in the arena of security and defense, trade, health, people-to-people and cultural engagements as well as development cooperation.

New Zealand emphasized its proposed initiatives on diversity and inclusion, during the session. It has launched initiatives for Lumad communities in the Philippines. Aside from that, it is also working on capacity-building projects in Bukidnon and Davao.

The two reaffirmed support amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They also underscored the continuing cooperation in the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, the ASEAN-New Zealand dialogue mechanism, and New Zealand’s chairmanship of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting.

The virtual conference was also attended by the DFA Senior Special Assistant Eric Tamayo, New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell, and Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Gary Domingo.