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Goff signs ASEAN treaty

Goff signs ASEAN treaty

New Zealand today formally acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, with Foreign Minister Phil Goff signing the treaty in Vientiane, Laos.

"New Zealand’s accession follows Cabinet approval and endorsement by Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Selection Committee after careful study of the treaty text and a National Interest Analysis," Mr Goff said.

“Accession to the TAC signals that New Zealand is committed to closer engagement with ASEAN, and with Asia more generally. Ten out of New Zealand's top 20 trading partners are in Asia. Trade, tourism, international students, security, environment, health and disaster relief are all areas of critical interaction between us and the region.

"New Zealand's participation in the strategically important East Asia Summit, to be held in Malaysia at the end of the year, is a further important step in building a deeper, more inclusive relationship with the region."

The Treaty, first 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. These principles are consistent with New Zealand's United Nations charter obligations.

"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 marks the 30th anniversary of New Zealand’s relations with ASEAN, so our accession to the TAC is timely," Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff is in Laos for the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference and ASEAN Regional Forum, which provide New Zealand with key opportunities to engage with the region's nations on common economic, political and security issues.

Australia today signed a Declaration of Intent to accede to the treaty.

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