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NZ ties with Singapore strengthened

25 March 2001 Media Statement

NZ ties with Singapore strengthened

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that New Zealand-Singapore ties would be further boosted by Singapore's deployment of peacekeepers to East Timor as part of the New Zealand contingent.

Helen Clark welcomed the announcement that a 70-strong infantry combat group from the Singapore Armed Forces will join the New Zealand Battalion 4 when it deploys in May.

"This is a positive development and comes on the eve of a visit to New Zealand by Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Dr Tony Tan," Helen Clark said.

Dr Tan arrives today on a four-day official visit.

"We warmly greet Singapore's decision to join the United Nations effort in East Timor as it demonstrates a commitment to regional security.

"Both Singapore and New Zealand are members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements along with Australia, Britain and Malaysia.

"Bilateral relations with Singapore have gone ahead in leaps and bounds in recent years, as illustrated by the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership in November.

"Our growing relationship with Singapore in areas such as trade, investment and defence is helping develop New Zealand's profile in the whole of the dynamic South-east Asian region.

"I am looking forward to meeting with Dr Tan on Tuesday to discuss a range of issues.

"These developments will result in a deepening of an already close relationship," Helen Clark said.


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