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Peters names next Ambassador to Viet Nam

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

05 April 2006

Peters names next Ambassador to Viet Nam

New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam will be career diplomat James Kember, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

“Given the importance of new initiatives such as the East Asia Summit and Viet Nam’s emerging influence within South East Asia, this is an important time for the relationship," Mr Peters said.

Mr Peters says he's pleased a person as experienced as Dr Kember would be leading the expansion of an already close relationship, which last year marked 30 years of diplomatic relations.

“New Zealand’s relationship with Viet Nam has grown rapidly over the last decade and looks to expand further in the next few years, including in areas such as high-level education.

“It will soon become a member of the WTO and is to host APEC in Hanoi in November. These developments will provide further opportunities to advance the bilateral partnership.”

Bilateral trade is now worth $260 million a year and New Zealand recently agreed a market access agreement with Viet Nam as part of their accession to the WTO.

Dr Kember has previous experience with the Ministry in Asia, was for three years until 2004 the Director of the University of Auckland’s New Zealand Asia Institute and is a member of the New Zealand Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s board.

“This experience means Dr Kember is ideally placed to help enhance New Zealand’s interests in this strategically important part of the world,” said Mr Peters.

Dr Kember joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1977 and is currently its Information and Public Affairs Director. His previous overseas assignments have included Hong Kong, Beijing, Nouméa, New York, and the Cook Islands.

He will take up his assignment in August replacing Michael Chilton who returns to New Zealand.

ENDS

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