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PM to Attend East Asia Summit and visit Hong Kong

PM to Attend East Asia Summit and visit Hong Kong

Prime Minister Helen Clark is to attend the East Asia Summit in Cebu in the Philippines next week, and will also make an official visit to Hong Kong.

Helen Clark departs New Zealand late on 11 December, returning on the 16th.

This will be the second East Asia Summit, following the inaugural meeting last year in Kuala Lumpur.

It will bring together leaders from the 10 countries making up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations grouping (ASEAN), the ASEAN+3 group (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), and Australia, New Zealand and India.

"Leaders have agreed that energy issues will be a priority topic for the Cebu meeting, along with education, finance, avian flu, and disaster mitigation and preparedness," Helen Clark said.

“One of the main challenges for leaders at this year’s Summit will be to determine a role for it which complements and adds value to the work of other processes, such as APEC.

Other topics, such as the WTO's Doha Round and recent developments in North Korea are also likely to be discussed.

“New Zealand welcomes the development of outward-looking and inclusive regional structures such as the East Asia Summit. New Zealand needs to play a full part in these developments, and we are strongly committed to the success of this Summit.

In Hong Kong, Helen Clark will meet with Chief Executive Donald Tsang and ministers to discuss issues of mutual interest including the WTO Doha negotiations.

She will also address a breakfast meeting of prominent business representatives, meet with the New Zealand Business Advisory Board, and visit the New Zealand Focus Centre in downtown Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is New Zealand’s tenth-largest export market and a significant source of investment, tourists and students. Helen Clark last made an official visit to Hong Kong in 2001.


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