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NZ to accede to Treaty of Amity and Cooperation

New Zealand to accede to Treaty of Amity and Cooperation

New Zealand has decided in principle to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, the Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

Helen Clark made the announcement following talks with the Prime Minister of Viet Nam, Phan Van Khai, who is in New Zealand as part of a visit marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Viet Nam.

"The government will submit the text of the Treaty, with a National Interest Analysis, to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee for consideration," Helen Clark said.

The Treaty, signed in 1976, is seen by the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a statement of fundamental principles governing their relations. It is also seen as a code of conduct for ASEAN’s external relations.

“New Zealand is committed to strengthening its links with ASEAN countries,” Helen Clark said.

"New Zealand is actively involved in the strategic developments underway in East Asia, which are important for New Zealand’s future.

“Accession to the Treaty would send a signal of New Zealand’s commitment to closer engagement with ASEAN and with Asia more generally. In recent years China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India and other countries have acceded to the Treaty as their own relations with ASEAN have deepened. This year is the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s relations with ASEAN. Accession by New Zealand would be very timely.

“A careful study has been made of the obligations arising under the Treaty. Accession is not expected to constrain New Zealand in the conduct of its foreign policy," Helen Clark said.

[Background: The TAC was signed in 1976 by the five original ASEAN members – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillipines, Singapore and Thailand – and at the time designed to strengthen ASEAN solidarity in Asia during the Cold War era. Since then, the Treaty has taken on a new significance in the context of an evolving ASEAN view of its place in the world, giving greater emphasis to an outward-looking orientation. Signatories now include all 10 members of ASEAN, as well as a number of ASEAN Dialogue Partners including China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Russia].

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