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New Zealand invited to East Asia Summit

27 July 2005

New Zealand invited to East Asia Summit

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that New Zealand has been invited to participate in the inaugural East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur in December.

"The EAS is an important new development in the region at a time when political and economic relationships in Asia are undergoing rapid and potentially far-reaching changes. I am delighted that New Zealand has been invited to participate in the inaugural summit at the end of the year," Helen Clark said.

"The summit was originally to involve leaders from the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its North Asian neighbours China, Japan and Korea. Now ASEAN has invited participation by New Zealand, Australia and India. The invitation was announced yesterday by Laotian Foreign Minister Somsavat Lengsavad.

"The government recognises that it is vital for New Zealand to engage wherever possible in the developing regional structures. Roughly a third of New Zealand’s foreign trade, a fifth of inward investment, and a third of tourism revenues are with or from Asian countries.

"The summit will offer further opportunities for deeper and more inclusive regional integration between New Zealand and Asia.

"New Zealand’s participation in the EAS in December will cap a year of reinvigoration of New Zealand’s ties with the region.

"Since I attended the ASEAN/Australia/New Zealand Summit in Laos last November, we have embarked on negotiations for an ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade arrangement, we are about to accede formally to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of Southeast Asia, we have hosted visits by an unprecedented number of Southeast Asian leaders, and we have implemented a series of initiatives to strengthen people to people links with the region.

"It is particularly satisfying that these positive developments in our relations with Southeast Asia are unfolding as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN."

Note: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

ENDS

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